Voices from Current Students


LIfe in NIPS

Thanh Phuong NGUYEN

Tann2023.jpgI studied structure and function of cell-cell adhesion in epithelia. Epithelia is one of the four main tissue types in mammals. In epithelial tissue, the cells strongly adhere to each other via cell-cell junctions to ensure epithelial integrity. However, epithelial integrity is constantly challenged by rupture force from the surrounding environment. Therefore, I am interested in the fundamental question of how epithelial cells maintain epithelial integrity to ensure their biological function. I tackled this question during my Ph.D. study.

The reason I chose NIPS for my Ph.D. is that I was looking for a strong research group in the field of cell biology for graduate study, and found that Cell Structure laboratory of Prof. Mikio Furuse perfectly matches my interest. Cell Structure laboratory is a well-known research group with high reputation in cell biology community, ensuring that I could get strong support for research progress. NIPS gave me an opportunity to work with one of the most talented scientists in the field, which therefore came along with learning the most cutting-edge sciences, accessing various available resources, and plenty of opportunities for collaboration.

The good thing about NIPS is, first, that most of the research groups here are known as superstars in the scientific community for their important contributions. Second is funding opportunities, with the availability of scholarships, fellowships, and grants to support research projects, along with access to advanced research facilities and resources to speed up the research progress. Third is foreign student support, with office staff being very friendly and supportive. Accommodations for students are also provided, helping a lot to decrease the financial issue but still ensuring a good living environment. And fourth, although NIPS is a research institute that may differ from the university system, still, students can receive professional development opportunities, such as seminars, conferences, and lectures in collaboration with other universities. I believe these elements are essential in preparing Ph.D. students for future academic careers.

Wonderful research life in NIPS

  LIU Chang
I am Chang LIU, a D4 student in Division of Biophysics and Neurobiology (Kubo lab). My former expertise was clinical medicine when I was in medical university in China. I met Prof. Kubo in an international conference and have known SOKENDAI since then. During my one-year internship in the hospital, I realized the importance of basic research which could fundamentally support the clinical treatment and found myself becoming more and more interested in it. After graduation from university, I decided to continue my study in research field and join Kubo lab as a PhD student focusing on the structural and functional aspects of the interaction between membrane proteins.
One of the great part of NIPS is that I could have two weeks internship in the lab before I join it. It is a good opportunity for a foreign student like me who has no real experience in experiment and also life in Japan. Thus, I could make a decision after looking through the environment of the whole lab, rather than make a hasty decision without knowing the fact.
Indeed, the academic atmosphere here is super good and friendly to foreign students. Firstly, there is no linguistic problem since all stuffs can speak English. The lectures are given in English and basic daily communication in the lab is not a big issue. Second, there is a plenty of chances to talk and study with the most professional experts in the field not only in our lab but also researchers from outside. In our lab, we have monthly meeting to discuss with lab members for carrying forward one’s own research. Meanwhile, we have interview with two professors in other labs each semester. Furthermore, our school of life science will hold annual retreat for all student from NIPS, NIBB and NIG so that we can enjoy the cross-field talk which may give us more inspiration in our study from different departments. We can also join various conferences to learn the cutting-edge findings and methodology every year from domestic seminar to worldwide symposium. By all aspects I mentioned above, I fully enjoy my research life here.