A Message from Gil Granot-Mayer, Executive Vice President of Technology Development & Innovation
OIST innovators have been very busy, despite continuing disruptions and uncertainties in global society and markets.

While it is sometimes necessary to focus our energies to address short-term disruptions, a long-term commitment to innovation, underpinned by science and technology, is critical to navigating and emerging stronger post crises. OIST remains committed to advancing innovation and entrepreneurship to secure our collective future.

We have many things to share with you, so let's just dive right in.
  • Spotlights illuminate the most innovative technologies, research, programs, and people that OIST has to offer the world.
  • Events are our can't-miss seminars, workshops, and meet-ups, both physical and virtual.
  • News collects stories from around the globe showcasing the achievements of OIST Innovators.

If you haven’t subscribed to our newsletter, please do so HERE. If you are already part of our community, I am sure you will find more in this newsletter about ways to collaborate and interact with OIST. I wish you an easy return from your summer vacation and I hope to meet you in Okinawa soon.
3D Biocompatible Scaffolds for Regenerating Neurons
Traumatic spinal cord and peripheral nerve injuries represent a significant burden of disease for millions of people around the world. Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering have the potential to boost the regrowth of damaged nerves and restore function but are hampered by the inability to adequately recreate the physical and chemical environment for neuronal growth. Using state-of-the-art 2-photon photolithography, scientists in the lab of Assistant Professor Marco Terenzio fabricated biocompatible 3D nanogrid structures to form a scaffold for growing neurons. Their work was published in Materials Science and Engineering: C and featured in Materials Today. The technology is available for  collaborative co-development.
Proteomic Approach to Reprogramming iPS Cells into Neurons
A team of OIST researchers led by Dr. Zacharie Taoufiq has developed a groundbreaking proteomic approach that identifies the optimum growth factors for the differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) into functional and much better connected neurons. Their work was published in PNAS and represents a major step towards the development of commercial iPSC-based treatments for patients. The technology is available for licensing and collaborative co-development.
  Perovskites 'Achilles Heel' Revealed
Perovskites are much cheaper alternative materials for solar cells than crystalline silicon. They can also be incorporated into optoelectronic devices such as energy-efficient LEDs and X-ray detectors. However, the key barrier to the commercial viability of perovskite devices is their stability and longevity. Now, researchers in the lab of Professor Keshav Dani, along with collaborators at the University of Cambridge, have developed a multimodal microscopy toolkit that reveals tiny defects in the material that leads to degradation. Fine tuning of the structure in scaled manufacturing processes will help to improve performance and longevity. Their work, reported in the journal Nature, could significantly accelerate the development of long-lasting, commercially viable perovskite devices.
Accelerating Startups at OIST
Watasumi Founder and CEO, David Simpson
We are excited to introduce 5 startups that recently launched from the OIST Proof-of-Concept Program and the I2 Startup Accelerator Program:

Watasumi (Japan): Spin off venture engineering novel biotechnologies to treat industrial wastewater
Sage Sentinel (Canada/USA): Startup focused on enriching the quality of life of seniors and their caregivers by providing fall-prevention technologies
GenomeMiner (Japan): Synthetic biology startup developing bioinformatic tools to identify novel pesticides, antibiotics, and other useful compounds from nature
HerLifeLab (Japan): Femtech startup developing science-based, comprehensive support system for women in transition through menopause
KanjuBot (Russia): Next generation of brain-inspired AI to help businesses build automated and personalized customer experiences

Read KanjuBot and Sage Sentinel's entrepreneurship story and get introduced to the our newest cohort, anda and Osaka Heat Cool!

By the way, our I2 Accelerator Program received the 2022 Innovation Net Award from the Innovation Initiative Network Japan in recognition of our ability to attract entrepreneurs from around the world and the practical support provided by our staff, who are experienced in international research and business.

Congratulations to these amazing entrepreneurs as they embark on their startup journey! Contact us for an introduction to the startups.
Introducing the OIST-Lifetime Ventures Fund
There has never been a better time to start a company in Japan

OIST is thrilled to announce a partnership with Lifetime Ventures to establish the OIST-Lifetime Ventures Fund, with a target to raise 5 billion Yen.

The new venture fund, announced at a press event in Tokyo, brings together the risk capital and hands-on approach to creating new businesses at Lifetime Ventures, with world-class scientists from OIST, in an all-out effort to move technologies from lab to market.

In celebrating the partnership, OIST President Peter Gruss remarked, "There has never been a better time to start a company in Japan—venture capital available to startups in Japan has increased ten-fold in the last decade. OIST is excited to partner with Lifetime Ventures to build on this momentum. With OIST as an intellectual center, Okinawa will benefit from the confluence of world-leading research with risk capital to realize its potential as a regional innovation ecosystem.”

Pitch your startup or invest in the OIST-Lifetime Ventures Fund.
OIST Establishes New Partnerships for Innovation
It has also been a busy time at the OIST Technology Development & Innovation Center. We concluded a record number of partnerships with companies, non-profits, and universities with the singular aim of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. Highlights of some of our new partners:

  • Corundum Systems Biology collaborates with Adjunct Professor Hiroaki Kitano to establish the MANTA Project: a fully automated multi-omics and microbome data analysis lab.
  • NTT Space Environment and Energy Laboratories partners with Associate Professor Satoshi Mitarai to make observational and predictive analyses of typhoons (Japanese).
  • Bank of Okinawa partners to promote the commercialization of OIST technologies, establish an innovation ecosystem in Okinawa, and contribute to the sustainable development of the regional economy.
  • Okinawa Industry Promotion Public Corporation establishes a cooperative framework with OIST to scout for startups in Okinawa and support their commercialization.
  • AgVentures Lab, an innovation lab consisting of 8 Japan Agricultural Cooperatives, to support startups in the areas of AgTech and FoodTech.

Get in touch with us to explore collaboration opportunities.
INO Welcomes Its 32nd Industry Member
The Innovation Network at OIST (INO), is a platform for companies to connect with OIST faculty, researchers, students and startups. In less than a year, we welcomed 32 industry members into the network, facilitating over 100 introductions to the OIST innovation ecosystem.

In addition to facilitating introductions to OIST innovators, a key benefit of membership is exclusive networking events to discuss the future of science and technology.

Become a member of INO today and join us at the next networking event taking place in Okinawa on November 17.
Meet us at...
Want to be an OIST Innovation Mentor or Reviewer?
  • Are you a domain expert in a deeptech industry sector?
  • Have you developed a product or startup from university technology?
  • Are you motivated by finding technological solutions to global problems?
  • Do you enjoy giving back to the community by advising young innovators?

You should consider becoming an OIST Innovation Mentor or Reviewer.

Through a curated matching process, you will have an opportunity to offer your expertise and support to research projects and startup teams at OIST. In return, you get to watch as groundbreaking science is conducted and new technologies emerge from the labs.
Apply today to be an OIST Innovation Mentor or Reviewer.

We're in the news!
  • OIST inventor Professor Yabing Qi received the 2021 Kao Science Prize (Japanese) from the Kao Foundation for Arts and Sciences in recognition of his contributions to the development of sustainable, green energy through his research on perovskites. Read OIST's announcement of the prize.
  • Researchers in Professor Jonathan Miller's lab designed the cheapest and most efficient squid aquaculture system to date, attracting significant local and global media attention here, here, here, here (Japanese), and here (Japanese).
  • EF Polymer, I2 Accelerator Program alumni, is awarded the Best Environmental Startup at the 2022 Green Startup Pitch competition sponsored by the Japan Ministry of the Environment. The startup was also nominated for the Earthshot Prize and received a grant from the PwC Foundation.
  • Another recent I2 Accelerator Program graduate, GenomeMiner achieved a major technical and investment milestone and, along with fellow cohort HerLifeLab, is recognized by the Bank of Okinawa.
  • The Economic Times and Newswitch (Japanese), covered the MANTA Project, a joint lab with Corundum Systems Biology.
  • OIST is one of only 55 universities in the world invited to participate in the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research Global Scholars Program.
  • The work of Professor Fujie Tanaka and colleagues to develop cheaper and more eco-friendly processes to make organic molecules from pyruvate was featured in Chemical Processing.
  • OIST President Peter Gruss is featured in the Japan Times discussing the significant impact that fundamental research can make on anti-aging, CRISPR therapies, and quantum computation.
  • Kizuna, the official magazine of the Government of Japan, interviewed OIST Executive Vice President Gil Granot-Mayer about the strategy to provide comprehensive and hands-on support to researchers and early-stage startups to spur economic growth.
  • Research on the metabolomics of aging from Professor Mitsuhiro Yanagida's group was featured in esse-sense (Japanese).
  • Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, visited OIST for the first time since taking office to meet with students, researchers, and innovators.

TDIC Innovation Newsletter 002
September 2022
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