2017 Japanese Fellows

Click on the student names below to learn more about the 2017 Nakatani RIES Japanese Fellows including excerpts from their weekly reports!

Ayaka Hatano

Tokyo Institute of Technology
B3: Junior, Chemistry
Research Host Lab: Prof. Jeffrey Hartgerink, Department of Chemistry
Research Project Title: “Characterization of Multidomain Peptide with Mimetic Sequences” (PDF)

“I think it is essential that we experience how the lab life is going in the U.S. when we are sophomore or junior students because we usually have not decided for our future vision at that time. The experiences we got through this program must be helpful for the lab life in Japan started from senior and good opportunities to think about our course and career. As we tried to not only to communicate with people about ordinary life but also discuss about our research or specialized fields in English in the U.S., we could imagine and think about what studying or working abroad is more clearly. I was a visitor this time, so I am eager to conduct research as a member of the lab for the next time. I have become really active for learning and experiments of my major study to achieve that goal… I promise if you study abroad, I’m sure you will have a good experience, find new points about yourself and can broaden your perspective.” ~ Ayaka Hatano 

Etsuko Ishii

The University of Tokyo
B3: Junior, Applied Mathematics
Research Host Lab: Prof. Devika Subramanian, Department of Computer Science
Research Project Title: “Analyzing Houston Flooding Using Unsupervised Machine Learning” (PDF)
Award: Received 2nd place poster presentation award at final research colloquium

“The Nakatani RIES Fellowship program presented plentiful options for more to consider after I finish my bachelor’s degree. This is what I want to share with my friends the most. In Japan, and for most students in my department, they plan to graduate with their master degree and then get a job in industry. Some students who really like doing research and want to be a professor pursue PhD degrees, which makes it difficult to get a job outside academia. However, there are much more invisible options! They should expand their viewpoint as I did through this summer.” ~ Etsuko Ishii 


Seiya Ishizawa

Tohoku University
B3: Junior, Agriculture and Chemical Biology
Research Host Lab: Prof. Zach Ball, Department of Chemistry
Research Project Title: “pGH Tag for Protein Purification” (PDF) 

“Through the Nakatani RIES program, I learned about the difference between English in textbooks and in in real conversation. During my stay in the U.S., I heard many new words or phrases that I hadn’t learned in textbooks. Especially in the lab, I needed to remember a lot of chemistry words and experimental words such as fume hood, volatile, arbitrary, elution, aliquot, etc. It was really good that my mentor was Japanese, and told me such words a lot. These words have become my property now because they are very common and useful, it would help my next lab life in the U.S.” ~ Seiya Ishizawa 

Tomo Kinoshita

Nagoya University
B3: Junior, Medicine
Research Host Lab: Prof. Gang Bao, Department of Bioengineering
Resaerch Project Title: “Magnetic Nanoparticle-based Approaches for T cell Targeting and Tracking In Vivo”

“The most important thing I learned from the Nakatani RIES program is the importance of reaching out of your comfort zone. It was not easy to determine new knowledge, in a new lab, with new people. It was very frustrating actually. The way you are used to solving problems might not work in a new place. However, through these struggles out of my nest, I learned how to get help from others, how to show your enthusiasm, and how to make new friends and show them my appreciation. I have already written the details in my previous weekly reports, but to sum up, it was an excellent experience to learn communication and academic skills that I can use from now. If my teachers, parents, or employers asked what I learned through the program, I would like to say; I learned the importance of trying new things, keeping motivated, and always thinking about how to improve.” ~ Tomo Kinoshita

Miki Matsumoto

The University of Tokyo
B3: Junior, Applied Biological Chemistry and Biotechnology
Research Host Lab: Prof. Aryeh Warmflash, Department of Biosciences
Resaerch Project Title: Effect of Cell Density on Wnt-induced Nodal signaling in Human Embryonic Stem Cells” (PDF)
Award: Received 3rd place poster presentation award at final research colloquium

“After spending five weeks in Houston, I have now decided to pursue a Ph.D. in America after I finish my undergraduate degree. I have come to think that I can manage to live in America. I am sure that it would be tough for me, but I believe I can do it… I realized that I love doing research… I still need to brush up on my English communication skills, widen my vocabulary, and understand the insurance system and visa system in the U.S. to live in America. However, I still have a year to prepare. I will study hard to come back to America.” ~ Miki Matsumoto 

Shohei Nishimura

Tohoku University
B2: Sophomore, Materials Science and Materials Processing
Research Host Lab: Prof. P.M. Ajayan and Dr. Robert Vajtai, Department of Materials Science & NanoEngineering
Research Project Title: “Hybrid Flexible Films with Tuned Properties for Multifunctional Applications” (PDF)

“The Nakatani RIES Fellowship program allowed me to outline research in laboratories. Sophomore students in Japan hardly have experience in laboratories, and will not know about research in laboratory until senior in my university. Due to this experience, I will be able to choose the best laboratory for me when I look for a host laboratory as a senior student…  I also learned that unity is crucial to achieve a big goal. I expected that research is a lonely activity. However, it is not. I cooperated with many researchers and finished my research internship successfully. Each person has what he or she can do, and it is different from person to person. Cooperation does not mean just leaning on others. We need own skills and good relationships as well. We can achieve a bigger goal than what I can achieve by myself.” ~ Shohei Nishimura

Jumpei Nomura

Hiroshima University
B3: Junior, Vehicle and Environmental Systems
Research Host Lab: Prof. Andrew Meade, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Research Project Title: Evaluating the accuracy of the computational fluid dynamics solver, FLUENT” (PDF)

“… having experienced American graduate school life was the most important thing that I gained in this program. Before I went to Rice University, I knew a few things about the system of graduate schools in the U.S., but I did not know what would be like to spend time at an American graduate school. At Rice University, I conducted research on computational fluid dynamics and also experienced university life in the U.S. at the same time. Having experienced university life at Rice was very rewarding since one of my future goals is getting into graduate school in the U.S… 

In this program, you can experience not only hands-on research but also a bit of university life at Rice.” ~ Jumpei Nomura

Ryota Sasaki

Tohoku University
B2: Sophomore, Electrical, Information and Physics Engineering
Research Host Lab: Prof. Jane Grande-Allen, Department of Bioengineering
Research Project Title: “Building a Meso-scale Mechanical Testing Device for analysis of Rodent Heart Valve Tissue” (PDF)

“Before I participated in this program, I was planning to get a job after my master’s degree in Japan as many people follow such a path. However, I have thought it is boring and is not challengeable in my life. Applying for graduate school in the U.S. or being a researcher abroad never crossed my mind. Therefore, I was lucky to get such a great opportunity to consider my future career and gain research experience during my bachelor’s degree… Gaining a hands-on research experience is one of the important things in this program. Actually, the reason why I participated in this program is to get a chance to research during my second year. However, I realized making relationships with people from diverse backgrounds is as significant as having research experience in this program. I have been stimulated by those who I met in this program. Through this great summer, I got really inspired and motivated toward studying and pursuing to challenge my goals.” ~ Ryota Sasaki 

Tomoyuki Sato

Nagoya University
B3: Junior, Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace
Research Host Lab: Prof. Tayfun Tezduyar, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Final Research Project Poster: “Structural Mechanics Analysis and Shape Determination of the Orion Spacecraft Drogue Parachute” (PDF)

“Though my life in Houston was extraordinarily full of fun memories, I would rather like to emphasize how fruitful my lab life was when speaking to my friends, family and professors… [One of] the lessons I obtained through my life in the lab [is] simple and quite common, “Have a willingness to conquer any hardships”…  Though this is not everything, this is all I learned through the program and want to tell everyone about my experience after coming back to Japan. It is clear that this program changed me drastically and gave me a chance to crystallize my future career. I thank Nakatani Foundation for giving me such a great chance this summer. And… I’ll be back.” ~ Tomoyuki Sato 

Rio Tsukimura

The University of Tokyo
B3: Junior, Chemistry and Biotechnology
Research Host Lab: Prof. Michael S. Wong, Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Research Project Title: “Nitrate reduction reaction using bimetallic alloy nanoparticles as catalysts” (PDF) 

“It was a great experience for me to participate in the 2017 Nakatani RIES Fellowship this summer. I learned many things and enjoyed so much that it is difficult to tell how everything about how this experience changed my life and gave a lot of opportunities to my future. But, I would like to share how attractive it is and to expand that this can be kind of a “big turning point” for other students… This summer internship helped me to cultivate a challenging spirit and learn an attitude to conduct research as well.” ~ Rio Tsukimura

Nina Yoshitake

The University of Tokyo
B3: Junior, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
Research Host Lab: Prof. Junghae Suh, Department of Bioengineering
Resaerch Project: “Applying Computational Models to Predict Capsid Protein Functions in AAV” (No PDF-Research Not Yet Available for Public Dissemination)
Award: Received 1st place poster presentation award at final research colloquium

“The two main reasons why I applied to the Nakatani RIES program is that I believe it will help me think about my career as a research scientist and that it would broaden my horizons. In Japan, many people believe the research environment in the US is quite different from that of Japan, and that experiencing research there would be a big plus for one’s career. Experiencing this for myself through this program would help me decide whether I should study abroad in the future for graduate or post graduate studies. I am also curious about the careers of female researchers and the challenges they may face. The number of female researchers in Japan is still limited and I cannot help but anticipate my future in such environment… I believe this program is an invaluable opportunity for undergraduate students to experience research in the US. It will support students who love science, refuel their passion for it, and encourage them to pursue their dreams. ~ Nina Yoshitake


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