Ly Jane Phea

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to NIG for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the NIGInternship program. Throughout this one month, I was placed in Professor Yumiko Saga’s lab, under the guidance of Zhousan.

I worked closely with Zhousan to uncover the processes underlying mouse somitogenesis, and also learnt about various other techniques, including mouse dissection and ES cell aggregation for the production of chimeric mice from other members of the lab. Everyone in the lab were really patient and helpful as were everyone else at NIG, and before long, I felt as if I was part of a big family.

“Science is a way of thinking more than it is a body of knowledge” Carl Sagan This internship was also an enlightening experience in that I was granted opportunities to visit other laboratories, attend research seminars presented by leading experts in their fields, as well as attend journal clubs and progress meetings organized by my lab. Through events such as these, I was exposed to other scientists’ thought processes, the way they plan, execute and interpret their experiments to produce meaningful data this will help to sculpt my mind closer towards that of an ideal scientist. I also hope to someday embody the tenacity and passion of these inspiring individuals.

Mishima, where NIG is located, is an idyllic place, brimming with the beauty of nature rice fields and sakura trees alongside a magnificent view of Mt. Fuji. I managed to squeeze in weekend trips to Kyoto, Yamanakajo, Izu Fruit Park etc. with the other interns, as we lived by the “work hard, play hard” policy. We were also lucky enough to participate in the Toro Nagashi (paper lantern festival), where we witnessed the beautiful paper lanterns floating along Sakuragawa, to guide the spirits of the ancestors back to the other world, where they belonged.

Japanese lessons with the delightful Miyauchisensei were fun, providing a weekly diversion from the hustle and bustle of the lab. Suffice to say, this internship was a fruitful experience, where I got to immerse in Japanese hospitality, culture and the beauty of its lands.

Sayounara, Japan. Till we meet again.