Chonprakun Thagun (Thailand)
- Enzyme Research Team, Center of Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS), RIKEN
- Laboratory of Plant Cell Function （FY2016 Doctor）
Finding pride in the right place
My passion for science began after one of my high school teachers sent me to attend a science camp at a university. After that, I decided to study in the field of science in higher education even though my family would not agree with this idea because, in their opinions, the profession of scientist in Thailand was not publicly interested and this career is not able to make money compared to other professions such as doctors or engineers. However, when I decided to study in the field that I dreamed of, they respected my decision and promoted what I chose. Now, I am a post-doc researcher in Enzyme Research Team, Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in RIKEN and am trying to make one more step closer to my passionate dream, to be a good scientist.
While I was studying for a master's degree at Mahidol University in Thailand, I was selected for the “Prescreening of Student for Special Recommendation” program by Graduate School of Biological Science, NAIST. On my 25th birthday, I received an email from the NAIST that I was selected among dozens of students enrolled in the program to get a chance to study at the doctoral level at NAIST for a period of four years. It was the most valuable birthday gift and it changed my life. Throughout the four years at NAIST, I was under the supervision of Hashimoto-sensei and Shoji-sensei in the Laboratory of plant cell function. In Hashimoto lab, I worked on the control of the gene expression mechanism in tomatoes, so everyone knew me as the “Tomatoman”. I learned as much on research from both professors, including in technical research, knowledge-based and advanced research and creation of the research that will serve as a fundamental knowledge and application for the future. Not only doing research, I also took the opportunity to study in Japan to learn Japanese, work with Japanese people and learn the Japanese way of life from my friends and other co-workers. It makes me more comfortable living in Japan even though I am a foreigner. And over the course of four years, I had the opportunity to learn and understand the meaning of being a scientist from Hashimoto-sensei, not only academic knowledge but also a philosophy that scientists should consider rigorously understood. He thoroughly taught me the importance and quality of research, “no matter how difficult it is and how long it may take us to get to it, it just gets more meaningful and valuable for those who are interested”. Although the research I am doing right now may be different from what I have done, I still hold on to the importance and quality of research, above all else.
It would be very difficult to fulfill my dream if I did not have the opportunity to study at NAIST because alone in that size, I do not know how far I can run my dream but NAIST makes me think that I have come a long way, so far, that I never expected to come to this point. If you are choosing a path to go for your future, indeed, there are plenty of routes to choose from. Although the path to NAIST, it will not be easy, not very elegant, but at NAIST, you can be sure that you will be able to walk in the future in your own way, ready, courageous and brave. Because NAIST will not just give you the chance to make a commitment to success but everything, every staff member and yourself at NAIST will promote and create something that will take you beyond all the boundaries you have and allow you to outgrow your limits.