Research Interview 5
September 25, 2015
By Shizu YAMAGUCHI
Assistant Prof Kazunori YAMADA started his life in Tohoku in this April. He thinks that Kinoshita Lab gives researchers latitude than usual.
“Strict restriction on research isn’t good for researchers,” he said. Students can study their research easier with teachers’ directions——some of restriction, especially during their job hunting. However, the Assistant Prof isn’t satisfied with easier and narrow circumstances.
Now he’s trying to decide his theme for research. The choices are analysis of proteins, research of medicine and protein, and study of genome techniques. You might feel hard to decide your university or theme of thesis like the researcher.
“I wish to inspire many Japanese people, giving them knowledge with my basic research.” His way of thinking is affected by his childhood.
He was born in 1982. 3 years have passed since he became a researcher. He spent his childhood in prosperity——Japan’s bubble economy (1986~1991). Japan’s economy took a turn for the worse at the beginning of 1990’s, as he was a teenager.
Some people told him that he’d better become a politician than a researcher, but he believes that science also has a good effect on economy and society of Japan. IT revolution in 2000’s was lead by American companies and research with Internet technology. He hopes his country plays an important role in tech revolution and economy like US.
He was a student of Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science. His doctoral thesis is about flu and he’s interested in medicine many years. However, he doesn’t want to be a pharmacist; he noticed that pharmacists don’t have many chances to use their knowledge, advising medical doctors about combination of drugs etc., during his part time job at a pharmacy.
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He starts his programming class this October. It’s one of SGU (Tohoku University’s Global Initiative) classes for exchange students. He visited Case Western Reserve University to join an academic meeting and see laboratories in this summer. He enjoyed 12-day visiting.
Many labs give researchers wide latitude like Kinoshita Lab. “It’s like a lot of Kinoshita Labs were there”, he said. He remembered that open and non-strict restriction laboratories were rare in Tokyo and Sendai.
He was impressed with diversity of researchers and students. While doctoral degree is quite important for research or job hunting, his/her age isn’t important one’s reputation in America. It’s different from Japanese companies placing importance on new graduates and younger age. He met 37 year-old doctoral student, professors maybe from China and Turkey.
Sometimes freedom of research is not good for students. At one of labs, 2 students studied the same part of research. This means the lab needs double time for the same research. The Assistant Prof thinks efficiency is also important for newest research.
The trip was good enough for him except for lacking Japanese cuisine. It brought him the possibility of collaborative research in the future. He said he wants to enhance listening skill in English before visiting US again.
I think that students should decide their research and laboratory from the point of view, ‘whether the lab respects your curiosity or not’.
Ph. D. Science
Studied virology at Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Tokyo
Started research bioinformatics in the latter half of Doctoral degree
Junior Research Associate at Riken (2010-2012)
Research Scientist at AIST (2012-2015)
Review: “Refinement of Amino Acid Substitution Matrix for Detecting Distant Relationships of Proteins” (Biophysics and Physicobiology, 55(3): 133-136, 2015) in Japanese