Lab 3: New Frontiers at OIST

New state-of-the-art facilities inaugurated at OIST

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) recently inaugurated a new building with state-of-the art facilities called Lab 3. The construction was supported by the Japanese Central Government.

Lab 3 will house a world class facility for oceanographic research and the Office of Sustainable Development of Okinawa.  The OIST Graduate School will be the first to move into the space, followed by several existing OIST research units. Three newly established research units will also be housed in the new facility.

A facility called the Marine Science Center is being created to expand existing oceanographic research efforts.  OIST will be expanding its pool of marine scientists as well.  OIST already has a world class DNA sequencing team which is now moving to a much larger space, and the team’s expertise will be crucial for the Marine Science Center.

An Office of Sustainable Development of Okinawa has been set up to manage future OIST collaborations with industry. The office will match OIST researchers with companies, and handle the relevant patent applications arising from these collaborations. The office includes the Business Development and Technology Licensing sections which are also moving into Lab 3.

“Building a self-sustained economy does not happen overnight, but in the long run we want to bring many things to Okinawa to support the growth of local economies," said Takanari Ichikawa, head of OIST's Business Development Section and Technology Licensing Section.

Lab 3 comes fully geared for cutting edge biochemical research and will house three new units in chemical engineering, adding to the existing one at OIST. Their specializations range from designing reactions that minimize environmental waste by aligning with natural processes, to creating chemical switches using microelectronics that can turn genes on and off.

"OIST has a very nice environment for collaboration and looks very promising for breaking new grounds," said Professor Ye Zhang, head of the newly founded Bioinspired Soft Matter Unit and a recent transplant from Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

OIST’s Mathematical Soft Matter Unit, Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit and Structural Cellular Biology Unit will also move to Lab 3.  

By Joykrit Mitra

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