Announcement: Startup event “Techcracker Lab” on 11 March (Monday) from 13:00

You can watch live on the following URL:

Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) is pleased to announce that TMDU will be co-hosting the startup event "Techcracker Lab" with the Hong Kong based venture capital firm, Horizons Ventures. The "Techcracker Lab" aims to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among the younger generations. It has been held in various locations, such as Israel and Norway, and this will be the first time in six years and the first time in Japan.

The event will feature a keynote speech by Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2020 for her groundbreaking development of CRISPR-Cas9 as a genome-engineering technology. In addition, five PhD founders, either professors turned entrepreneurs or medical students turned entrepreneurs, will share their valuable experiences of building up a business.

The event will be held in person at the Suzuki Akio Memorial Hall. This is a rare opportunity to hear directly from a Nobel laureate and startup founders, so we encourage everyone to apply using the registration link below.


-Date and Time: 11 March 2024 (Monday), 13:00 - 16:15
-Venue: Suzuki Akio Memorial Hall, 2nd floor, M&D Tower
-Language: English with simultaneous interpretation
*Pre-registration is required for this event.
*If the venue reaches capacity, there may be an option to watch via live streaming.

12:30 Registration
13:00 Opening
・Jennifer Doudna: Delivering the Future of CRISPR-based Genome Editing
・Michael Biercuk: Making Quantum Technology Useful through Infrastructure Software
・Hon Weng Chong: The DishBrain and my Decade-long Wanderings from MD to Tech Startups 
・Andrea Choe: Mining the Therapeutic Potential of Worms to treat Allergic and Autoimmune Disease
・Sebastian Himbert: Bleeding for Science
・Andrew Pelling: From Scientist to Entrepreneur by Making Body Parts in the 7-Eleven
16:00 Closing

Institute of Global Affairs, TMDU

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jennifer A. DOUDNA

Dr. Doudna is a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry for her groundbreaking development of CRISPR-Cas9 as a genome-engineering technology, with collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier. That forever changed the course of human and agricultural genomics research.

  • ・Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences 
  • ・Founder of the Innovative Genomics Institute
  • ・Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology, the University of California, Berkeley
  • ・Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • ・Senior investigator at Gladstone Institutes


Dr. Yujiro TANAKA President of Tokyo Medical and Dental University

Dr. Tanaka is the President of Tokyo Medical and Dental University
(TMDU) since 2020 and held various senior posts in the university before that. His specialties are medical education and internal medicine, especially gastroenterology.

Dr. Tanaka has driven the merger of TMDU with Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech). The new university, Institute of Science Tokyo, will form in 2024 and aims to develop world-class education and research, as well as to help solve global issues such as environmental problems, emerging and reemerging infectious diseases.

Contributing to people’s well-being and saving lives is always his
priority. Dr. Tanaka has launched initiatives to overcome COVID-19 and prepare for post-COVID-19 society.

Ms. Solina CHAU Co-Founder of Horizons Ventures

Solina  co-founded Horizons Ventures in 2002, investing early in DeepMind, Siri and Skype.

Enterprising science and technology companies power the privately-funded portfolio: founders and businesses whose IP and ideas can propel humanity to a brighter future.

Horizons Ventures’ track record is built on vision, instinct and drive. The vision of a better future for all, the instinct to spot companies and founders whose ideas will form the next-normal human reality - and the drive to push those companies to scale and impact.

Solina lives and works on the basis that legacy is not destiny; that our individual and collective futures are unwritten. And that our promise to invest in a better human future must be kept.

Other PHD entrepreneurs to speak in the coming Techcracker Lab

Prof. Michael BIERCUK

Professor Michael Biercuk is a global science and technology innovator building the greenfield quantum technology industry. Michael has a proven track record of success developing and managing strategic high-growth quantum technology initiatives within industry, government, and academia, as well as crafting policy at national and international levels to support the sector. He is uniquely experienced at the intersection of advanced technology development and national security based on his time in the US DoD and IC.

  • ・CEO and Founder of Q-CTRL 
  • ・Global expert in quantum control engineering and quantum computing
  • ・>75 technical manuscripts in quantum technology, >9,400 citations
  • ・Professor of quantum physics, University of Sydney
  • ・PhD Harvard University, quantum physics
  • ・BA University of Pennsylvania, physics
  • ・Program management DARPA, US Department of Defense
  • ・Technical consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton (Gov’t practice)
  • ・TEDxSydney and SXSW speaking alumnus
  • ・Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Investigator, The Australian Top 100 Innovators, SMH Most Influential People, and the AmCham Alliance Awards.

Dr. Andrea CHOE

Dr Choe is the CEO and co-founder of Holoclara Inc, which aims to cure allergic and autoimmune diseases by being the first to mine therapeutic molecules from gut roundworms that have co-evolved with humans for many millennia. Their lead molecule is positioned for entry into human clinical trials this year, marking the first time a worm-derived molecule will be returned back to mankind following their removal in the early 1900s, when allergic and autoimmune diseases first arose. 
  • ・MD USC Keck School of Medicine 
  • ・PhD Caltech 

Dr. Hon Weng CHONG

Dr Hon Weng Chong is the CEO and Founder of Cortical Labs. Cortical Labs is a Horizons Ventures backed startup building biological computing devices by growing  stem cell derived neurons onto silicon chips that allow the training of neurons to perform intelligence tasks. 

  • ・Hon trained in medicine at The University of Melbourne 
  • ・He worked as a doctor in emergency medicine before starting his entrepreneurial journey.
  • ・His first startup was CliniCloud; a medtech startup making internet connected medical devices. 
  • ・In addition to being a medical doctor, Hon Weng is a full-stack software engineer and a machine learning enthusiast. 
  • ・He is a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient. 

Dr. Sebastian HIMBERT

Dr. Himbert is at the forefront of biomaterial research, unraveling the secrets of cell
membranes. His innovative techniques are paving the way for smart blood, transforming therapies against Alzheimer's and cancer by delivering medicine to once-unreachable corners of the body.

YouTube: (from 0:50 onwards)

・PhD in Physics
・H.G. Thode Fellow
・CTO and Co-founder of Synth-Med Biotechnology Inc.

Dr. Andrew PELLING

Dr. Pelling is a lifelong scientist, full professor at the University of Ottawa and founder of multiple start-up companies. 
Professor and founder of the Pelling Lab for Augmented Biology, a highly experimental lab which is well known for its discovery that plants can be harnessed to create medical-grade biomaterials for engineering and regenerating human tissues. 

  • ・Co-founder and chief scientific officer of Spiderwort, a company translating the fundamental discoveries from his Lab in the area of plant-based biomaterials. 
  • ・Recipient of numerous grants and awards, including being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada and a Canada Research Chair. 
  • ・TED senior fellow, keynote speakers, various advisory roles for community, industry and government organizations.