PEAK Staff Profile

Sadao Ota,
Associate Professor – Environmental Sciences

Contact: sadaota[at]


Prof. Ota Sadao earned his BS in Engineering from the University of Tokyo (UT) in 2007 and completed his Ph.D. program in the fields of optical, mechanical, and bioengineering at UC Berkeley in 2013. Since 2018, he has been an associate professor at UT's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST). In 2019, he also became the head director of the Laboratories for Systems Biology and Medicine at RCAST. Alongside his academic roles, Sadao serves as the CSO of ThinkCyte Inc., a company he co-founded in 2016 to commercialize one of his technologies, Ghost Cytometry.

He was awarded Horiba Masao Award, Bioindustry Encouragement Award, Yamato Science Co., Ltd. Yamato Science Award, Kyoto SMI Tsujimoto Award (Non-profit organization), Marubun Foundation Research Encouragement Award, German Innovation Award "Gottfried Wagner Prize 2019”, 2019 NISTEP (Nice Step Researcher), Funai Foundation Science Academic Award, JST PRESTO "Single Cell Area" Innovation Award, Biophysical Society of Japan Young Investigator Award, Optical Society of Japan (OPJ) Best Presentation Award, UC Berkeley Block Grant Award, MicroTAS 2009 Widmer Young Researcher Award.

Research Interests

Our research focuses on developing next-generation biotechnologies for environmental and biomedical diagnostics, bio-utilization, and diverse research applications. By harnessing our cutting-edge hardware, data, and biotechnology, in-depth expertise, and collaborative approach, we aim to create unique Data/AI-driven high-throughput platforms that surpass human capability and knowledge. Working with suspended molecules, cells, exosomes, and organoids, we join forces with biologists from diverse fields to pioneer groundbreaking discoveries and contribute to the solution in biomedicine, energy, and global issues.

Our multidisciplinary team comprises experts in fields such as optical measurements, microscopy, microfluidics, information science, materials, and genomics. This synergy enables us to combine deep expertise across domains, fostering biotechnology and biomedical science breakthroughs.

We welcome motivated undergraduate and graduate students from various scientific and engineering disciplines to join our research endeavors and help shape the future of biotechnology and biomedical science.

Selected Publications

  • Ugawa M, Ota S*, High-throughput parallel optofluidic 3D-imaging flow cytometry, Small Science, (2022).
  • Ugawa, M, Kawamura Y, Toda K, Teranishi K, Morita H, Adachi H, Tamoto, R, Nomaru H, Nakagawa K, Sugimoto K, Borisova E, An Y, Konishi Y, Tabata S, Morishita S, Imai M, Takaku T, Araki M, Komatsu N, Hayashi Y, Sato I, Horisaki, R, Noji H, Ota S*, In silico–labeled ghost cytometry, eLife 10:e67660 (2021).
  • Ota, S.*, Horisaki, R., Sato, I., Itahashi, Y., Ugawa, M., Sato, I., Hashimoto, K., Kamesawa, R., Seto, K., Yamaguchi, S., Fujiu, K., Waki, K., Noji, H., Ghost Cytometry, Science 360, 1246–1251 (2018).
  • Li, T. †, Ota, S. †, Kim, J., Wong, ZJ, Wang, Y., Zhang, X. * († equal contributions),  Axial Plane Optical Microscopy, Sci. Rep. 4, 7253, (2014).
  • Ma, R. †, Ota, S. †, Li, Y., Yang, S., Zhang, X. *, († equal contributions), Explosive Detection in a Lasing Plasmon Nanocavity, Nature Nanotechnol. 9, 600-604, (2014). 
  • Ota, S., Yoshizawa, S., Takeuchi, S. *, Microfluidic Formation of Monodisperse, Cell-Sized, and Unilamellar Vesicles. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 48, 6533–6537 (2009).