Seeds from Yap, Story #2, Ms. IWASAKI Mio

Met a researcher for the first time
Spreading her world

Mr. Suyama, an associate professor in Tohoku university participated in the program in 2001. He was the boat member of ECOPLUS from the early time.

That time I’ve already thought I want to study bioinformatics. It was the time when I met Mr. Suyama who researched  biology. He told me a lot about his research during the program. I guess it was about DNA analysis by taking the contents of old organisms from fossils. I strongly remember that he told me “I thought it would be a good journal but it was not published in the journal that I expected to.

The experiences in Yap changed Mio. She could broaden her world through sharing the time with people who she didn’t interact with before. And she started to walk her path to be a researcher.

Being a researcher
at Shonan, Tsuruoka, then Kyoto

After coming back to Japan, she wanted to study genes as soon as possible but she was wondering what kind of research should be done in which university. Finally she found the possibility of researching a huge amount of information on life by utilizing AI (artificial intelligence), which was attracting attention at that time. She got the graduate certification of highschool from correspondence high school and prepared for a year to enter Keio university in Shonan-fujisawa (SFC). This was her first step of her research.

In SFC, you can belong to the laboratory from the first year. I also participated in a laboratory and started my research when I was freshman. The professor told me,  “Regardless of your grade, you are all researchers since you started your research. Researchers have neither top nor bottom. Have a spirit of half-learning, half-teaching, self‐respect and independence.” I was treated as one researcher. I moved to a laboratory in Tsuruoka, Yamagata prefecture from third grade. There were a lot of seniors and fellow students who are very intelligent around me. It was very fun and exciting to have an environment where we could work hard together.

Mio who suffered from a homogenized environment was able to feel the environment comfortable where she required creativity and responsibility and to stimulate each other with her fellow students.

Researchers are required to be different from other people as a profession. I should appeal what I find interesting and how interesting it is, instead of following the common sense. Understanding your ignorance and continuing to study humbly for something new. I think that kind of person is a researcher and I want to be like that.

After receiving PhD at Kyoto University, she has started working at the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application. Currently, she is in charge of a research group, and she wrote her dissertation as the responsible author for the first time.

Researching is discovering something new for the first time in the world, no matter how small. It is really exciting to discover something new with my knowledge, just like fitting a piece into a puzzle. I am going to research intractable disease. I want to do something interesting with reliable people around me.