Why did you choose Division of Biological Science at NAIST?
I chose to go Bioscience in NAIST because of my current sensei, Demura-sensei. We met in 2016 when he visited the Philippines for a conference. There, we had good discussions as to how I can do the kind of PhD research I always wanted in his lab. I also enjoyed my internship in the Plant Metabolic Regulation lab in 2017, and ultimately chose this lab for graduate studies.
What do you like about Division of Biological Science at NAIST?
I like how most of the technologies I need for research are very accessible here in Bioscience. Many of the faculty I have met also have collaborations in Japan and internationally, which makes it encouraging to build professional academic networks. Also, I could meet a lot of students from my region, where I learned we shared many aspects of our cultures, personalities, and values. Lastly and maybe most importantly, Bioscience has a strong support system for international students (thank you, Maki Satoko-sensei!).
What is your research topic?
My research topic is on the evolutionary analysis of the function of VNS transcription factors. These transcription factors generally control the development of cells with secondary cell walls in land plants.
How is the atmosphere in your lab?
The staff keep the atmosphere in the lab supportive in spite of the pandemic. Lately it's a bit quiet, with many of the senpais having graduated or finishing their dissertations away from the lab, but it's a personal goal to keep the same warm vibe that they helped create.
What are your goals for the future?
I hope to arm myself with more skills in bryophyte biology as a post-doc, and hopefully set up my own Plant Biology lab back home in the Philippines.
What are your recomended place to eat around NAIST?
I have a lot! But my go-to places are Sushiro, a conveyor belt sushi place near Tomigaoka; luce SantLucia, an Italian restaurant along Tomio river, Noodleworks Ano Ramen, a tsukemen place in Tomio, and Milan, an Indian-Nepali restaurant near Takanohara.
What are your favorite places around NAIST?
Every year at the Autumn equinox, we would hike up Mt. Ikoma, visit Hozanji temple, and stroll around the Ikoma Amusement Park, where there are so many happy children plus a beautiful sunset.
What are your tips for enjoying life at NAIST?
To me, it's important to find and keep your rhythm of work and leisure. Find the hobbies that will keep you stimulated and the friends that help you stay grounded. Find places to go to outside the campus that will motivate you to work hard and deserve to visit. As much as possible, don't work on weekends! Stick to a dream or a vision of yourself that you will strive for even on your worst days.
How comfortable is the dormitory?
The dormitory can be a bit small, but it is as comfortable as you want to make it. I've seen some people really deck out their dorms, and some keep only to the essentials.
What is your motto?
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
- from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Please praise yourself!
Based what other people say, it's a toss between, "日本語上手ですね." and "ほんまに可愛いじゃん?"
※The content of this interview is current at the time of publication.