Visikol Inc:  A Millennial Start-up Rattling the Science Industry 

Check out this recent article about Visikol by Maryanna Antoldi from Fordham University!

NEW BRUNSWICK-- It is becoming more and more evident over time that the younger generation has become a main source of innovation and knowledge in society. In many different fields, millennials are creating new companies and products that are changing the world, and they are displaying their talents for all to see. Visikol Inc., a startup company founded by Rutgers University graduate students, has this belief of young innovation at its core.

Tom Villani invented Visikol®, a clearing agent that renders plant and animal tissues transparent, while attending graduate school at Rutgers University, and, with the help of fellow graduate student Michael Johnson, decided to create Visikol Inc. Villani is now the Chief Scientific Officer at the company, leading scientific research and product development. Johnson is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who leads the team’s commercial efforts and overall direction.

At the heart of the company are core values of nonconformity and disruption. Visikol Inc. believes in the potential of young scientists to solve the big, scientific problems that the world faces today.  They also believe that small start-up companies are well positioned to create products that disrupt today's marketplace.

"We prefer non-traditional candidates [to work at Visikol] – the underdogs and the disrupters... We really want instigators and change makers who challenge the way things are done. We are trying to invent new things and not to make things that already exist better," explained Johnson in an interview.

As a product, Visikol is a clearing agent which is used primarily in microscopy (viewing items using a microscope) to render the tissues inside a sample transparent without disrupting its cellular structure. Created completely by millennials, Visikol is groundbreaking in the scientific world because it allows for tissues to be visualized in 3D instead of the 2D glass-slide-based approach which has been used for a century. The Visikol team has leveraged their core Visikol technology to develop formulas for both animal and plant tissues. This, in turn, makes the product perfect for researchers as well as educators because it makes images clearer and allows for 3D visualization.

 Because of its unique capabilities, the Visikol technology can be used for many different areas of study such as toxicology and histology. Consequently, Visikol Inc. created formulas of Visikol that can benefit each study uniquely. Visikol® TOX is a Visikol-based technology platform which simplifies the process of skeletal analysis during developmental and reproductive toxicology (DART) studies. In the histology field, Visikol Inc. will soon offer Visikol® IHC, which will enable 3D histology through easy-to-use immunolabeling kits. This will be available in the winter of 2016. The team has sold their original Visikol® formula for plant biology to over 250 universities from around the world and recently introduced Visikol® ENDO for the visualization of large animal tissues.

"I think I have always been quite the iconoclast, and I really like the idea of telling a whole field of people that that there is a new way of doing something that is completely against their current thinking," said Johnson, "This is essentially what we are doing with Visikol and our 3D histology platform...the idea of disrupting a centuries old process with our approach is really exciting to me."

Because Visikol Inc. is a millennial-based company, it has a unique environment that promotes growth and development. Chris Caputo, a senior and Environmental Business Economics major at Rutgers University, interns with Visikol Inc. and finds that he is constantly challenged to change the current methods the business industry.

"Working with the Visikol team inspires me because they have given me the ability to challenge old business methods. This grants me creative freedom in almost every task I complete," said Caputo, "Millennial management styles are very different than traditional management styles.  Taking chances to further business development through creative ideas are welcomed and nurtured. I am encouraged to continue thinking creatively."

The Visikol team’s passion to disrupt the science and business standards reflects the power of the millennial generation and their drive to change the state of the world as it currently is. As new generations begin to innovate and bring their own talents to their chosen fields, industry in general has the potential to grow in ways previously considered impossible.

"Some of the most important values that I have obtained at Visikol are learning when to speak up and to try things in a different way," explained Caputo, "These values have allowed me to change the way I think and interact in business which will be an asset to me in any future endeavor."

In the future, Visikol Inc hopes to grow into a large enough company to become the leader in 3D histology and develop more unique and disruptive technologies.

"If there is one message that I want people to get from Visikol, it is to challenge the world around you," said Johnson, "Unless you question the way things are done, they will remain the way they are."

 For more information about Visikol Inc. and its products, visit their website at

  By: Maryanna Antoldi   Journalism Undergraduate, Fordham University

By: Maryanna Antoldi

Journalism Undergraduate, Fordham University

Michael Johnson