The 2024 MIT Japan Conference will feature future trends of research at MIT and highlight advances in key areas, including autonomous vehicle navigation, chemical engineering, the Chinese economy, energy storage and conversion, healthcare technologies, and materials science.
Attendees will have the opportunity for continued in-depth discussions with faculty speakers and MIT Startup Exchange startup companies during both lunch and an evening networking reception.
The MIT Startup Exchange Lightning Talks and Startup Exhibit listed below are part of the full agenda for 2024 MIT Japan Conference.
Program Manager, MIT Startup Exchange
Ariadna Rodenstein is a Program Manager at MIT Startup Exchange. She joined MIT Corporate Relations as an Events Leader in September 2019 and is responsible for designing and executing startup events, including content development, coaching and hosting, and logistics. Ms. Rodenstein works closely with the Industrial Liaison Program (ILP) in promoting collaboration and partnerships between MIT-connected startups and industry, as well as with other areas around the MIT innovation ecosystem and beyond.
Prior to working for MIT Corporate Relations, she worked for over a decade at Credit Suisse Group in New York and London, in a few different roles in event management and as Director of Client Strategy. Ms. Rodenstein has combined her experience in the private sector with work at non-profits as a Consultant and Development Director at New York Immigration Coalition, Immigrant Defense Project, and Americas Society/Council of the Americas. She also served as an Officer on the Board of Directors of the Riverside Clay Tennis Association in New York for several years. Additionally, she earned her B.A. in Political Science and Communications from New York University, with coursework at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico City, and her M.A. in Sociology from the City University of New York.
Co-Founder and CEO, Osmoses
Dr. Francesco Benedetti is a Co-Founder and serves as Chief Executive Officer at Osmoses. He earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Bologna, Italy, and worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Benedetti received the MIT Energy Fellowship, the Activate Fellowship, and was an NSF I-Corps Entrepreneurial Lead in 2021. Osmoses develops and commercializes clean solutions to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with industrial gas separation processes. Osmoses won the MIT $100k Entrepreneurship Competition, the Cleantech Open Northeast Accelerator, the Carbon Sequestration Prize, The Eddies, and completed the Carbon 2 Value program. Osmoses is funded by top venture capital firms, including The Engine, Energy Capital Ventures, and Fine Structure Ventures, and supported by state and federal government organizations such as DOE, ARPA-E, MassCEC, and NYSERDA.
Kenny Jensen, Ph.D. studied physics in undergrad at MIT and then in graduate school at U.C. Berkeley. His career since then has been focused on control systems, autonomy, and electric vehicles. He led the flight controls team at Makani, an ARPA-e and Google[X] project to harness wind power using autonomous drones. There he developed the control system for a 2 ton, 26 m span drone that was capable of generating 600 kW from the wind. After Makani, he lead the vehicle controls team at Uber ATG, on the autonomous truck project. There he developed a safety critical control system that was able to drive fully-loaded semitrucks with no input from the operator for hundreds of miles. More recently, he led the flight controls team at Kittyhawk on the Heaviside project, a single passenger e-VTOL aircraft that hovers like a helicopter but flies like a normal aircraft. These past experiences with controls and autonomy are the perfect backdrop for his role as CTO of Navier, where he's working to transform maritime mobility with Navier's autonomous, electric, hydrofoil boats.
Business Development and Operations, Active Surfaces
Jeanne Pidoux is part of the Active Surfaces' team. She is a dynamic leader with experience spanning management consulting, business operations, and community engagement. She joined Active Surfaces in the Spring 2023 and is supporting the team on a wide variety of topics, including operations, strategy and business development.
Active Surfaces was born at MIT in 2022 after a decade of research, and won the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition in 2023 and the Harvard Climate Symp Pitch Comp, and has gained significant traction in the past few months. Three things that Jeanne loves about Active Surfaces: the dynamic and inspiring team, led by Dr. Richard Swartwout (MIT PhD) and Shiv Bhakta (MIT MBA/MA, Forbes 30 under 30 - Energy, US), whom she both met at MIT; the technology - an ultralight flexible solar thin-film that is breakthrough and innovative; the motivating challenges of an MIT start-up on a path to pilot and scale that is constantly fueling her problem solving mindset.
Jeanne previously worked as a Project Leader at Boston Consulting Group, managing teams and client engagements across industries including retail, manufacturing, and automotive where she led operations optimization projects. She is passionate about operational excellence and currently serves as the co-president of MIT Sloan Operations Management Club.
Jeanne is based in Cambridge, MA. She is originally from France and lived in Canada and Vietnam before moving to the US with her family.
Co-Founder and CEO, Mantel
Cameron Halliday is co-founder and CEO of Mantel, a carbon capture start-up based in Boston. Before starting Mantel Cameron earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT and his MBA from MIT Sloan. He is a Breakthrough Energy Fellow and a member of the 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 Energy Class. Previously, Cameron worked in a variety of roles at the forefront of climate and energy at Shell (new energies group), EGA (Emirati aluminum producer), BCG (management consulting), and ABB (process safety consulting). Originally from the United Kingdom, Cameron earned a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Loughborough University.
Electrochemist, Nth Cycle
Joshua Passantino is an electrochemist at Nth Cycle, a metal refining company that has developed technology to enable a clean, domestic, and streamlined supply of critical minerals for the clean energy transition. Dr. Passantino leverages years of experience working on sustainable technology and materials in many of America’s top research labs, where he developed a robust electrochemistry and surface chemistry background knowledge.
Prior to joining the Nth Cycle team in 2022, Dr. Passantino was a PhD student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Vanderbilt University as an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program fellow. He also spent time as a research fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Dr. Passantino received his PhD in chemical engineering from Vanderbilt in 2022 after receiving three bachelor's degrees in chemical engineering, biosystems engineering, and Spanish from Auburn University in 2017, where he was selected as the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Outstanding Student of the Year in 2016. Dr. Passantino was recognized as a finalist for a Nashville Emerging Leaders Award in 2019 and served as president for the Vanderbilt Graduate Student Council for two terms from 2020-2022.
Nth Cycle is based in Burlington, Massachusetts, and is supported by a world-class team of investors including Clean Energy Ventures, VoLo Earth Venture Fund, the Department of Energy, and Elemental Excelerator.
Co-Founder and CEO, Copernic Catalysts
Jacob E. Grose, Ph.D., is the CEO and Co-Founder of Copernic Catalysts, a Boston-based startup using computational modeling to develop proprietary chemical catalysts for ammonia and e-fuel synthesis. Prior to founding Copernic, Dr. Grose was an Investment Manager for BASF Venture Capital. In this role, he led BASF’s Boston office, sourcing and managing investments related to current and future businesses of BASF. He has worked at the intersection of chemistry and entrepreneurship for over a decade and interacted with multiple startups in a variety of roles at BASF and Lux Research. Dr. Grose received his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University and his B.A. in physics from Harvard University.
Co-founder and CEO, Found Energy
Peter Godart, PhD is the co-founder and CEO of Found Energy, an MIT spinout commercializing breakthrough technology that turns aluminum into fuel for generating low-cost, clean hydrogen on demand. He holds BSc degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering and an MSc and PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT. After earning his bachelor’s degrees in 2015, Dr. Godart spent two years as a research scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (347G), where he worked daily operations for the Mars Science Laboratory (“Curiosity”), qualified hardware for the Mars 2020 Rover (“Perseverance”), and led a research team in the exploring aluminum-based fuel for potential Europa lander applications. For his doctoral work, Dr. Godart developed new ways of extracting energy from aluminum waste to power electricity generation and seawater desalination in the aftermath of natural disasters, laying the groundwork for his company. Dr. Godart is also an avid educator and writer, and his first book Thermodynamics and ClimateChange is available on MIT Opencourseware.
Head of Product, Ikigai Labs
Stephanie Young is Head of Product at Ikigai. She holds four degrees from Stanford including a Bachelors in Bioengineering, a Masters in Computer Science and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business. Before Ikigai she founded Riva, a company building AI bots to help people negotiate job offers (Riva was acquired by Teal in 2022). She previously held positions at Google, Lyft, McKinsey, and in early stage VC.
Co-Founder and CEO, DxLab
Ho-Jun completed his Medical Engineering/Medical Physics Ph.D. in the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, working on robotic technologies for automated patch clamp recordings in vivo. He received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign respectively. Now he works on novel treatment strategies for Alzheimer’s disease, working between the labs of Professor Li-Huei Tsai and Professor Ed Boyden, as a postdoctoral scholar.
Director of Automation, Cache DNA
Will Pierce is Director of Automation at Cache DNA, a San Francisco-based company building room-temperature nucleic acid storage technologies. He works at the interface of biochemistry, robotics, and software, developing laboratory automation and informatics solutions to facilitate nucleic acid storage at scale.
Before joining Cache, Will gained specialized automation and software engineering experience through roles at biotech companies, including Editas Medicine and LifeMine Therapeutics. He has automated diverse laboratory processes, including high-throughput CRISPR screening for drug discovery, iPSC cloning for cell therapy manufacturing, and bioanalytical assays for clinical trial samples.
Will has contributed to molecular biology research in Dr. Joseph Avruch’s lab at Harvard Medical School/MGH and holds a BSc in Biology from Loyola University Chicago.
CEO and Co-Founder, Gensaic
Lavi Erisson, a physician-scientist-entrepreneur, is the co-founder and CEO of Gensaic, an MIT spinout delivering targeted genomic medicines through its ML-powered protein evolution platform. Lavi was previously Chief Medical and Head of Business Development at IterativeHealth, another MIT spinout, where he led clinical development to successful clearance of its flagship product, Skout (TM), and signed R&D collaborations with Eli-Lilly, Pfizer, and Janssen.
Earlier in his career, Lavi held various leadership roles at Teva Pharmaceuticals, clinically translating over 10 novel assets from lead candidates through first-in-patient and investing over $300 M through Teva's corporate venture group. Lavi is a passionate global health advocate,volunteering as a physician in refugee camps along the border of Thailand and Myanmar, as wellas advising Israel's ministry for foreign trade on bi-national R&D funds. Lavi received hisMedicalDegree and Public-Policy degree, Summa Cum Laude, from Tel-Aviv University. He later earnedan MBA from MIT Sloan, where he was a Sloan Fellow.
Disclaimer: MIT Startup Exchange can make introductions that ideally provide open ended discussions in order to share mutual interests and potentially create common ground that incite the parties to collaborate. MIT Startup Exchange introductions may eventually lead to mutual partnerships, but that is not in any way guaranteed by MIT, MIT Corporate Relations, MIT Industrial Liaison Program (ILP) or MIT Startup Exchange, which takes no responsibility for these outcomes and no formal part in such discussions following our introduction. MIT Startup Exchange and its activities and events are not for purposes of soliciting investment or offering securities.