Aidana Shagirova

I always admired Japan for its culture, art, and uniqueness. And when I received an invitation letter it was like receiving a letter from the Hogwarts. I couldn’t believe my fortune until I stepped into Japan. General affairs team provided everything starting from flight and visa, till the final instructions about the presentation. And when I came to NIG they introduced me to my lab mate and further I got to know my PI and mentor.

I was warmly welcomed by my mentor Takao sensei and with his help and patience, I could learn a lot about doing research. It was very exciting to do independent research and try to interpret unexpected results. From this internship, I have learned new techniques like cell culturing and transfecting, immunofluorescence staining, also became proficient in using confocal and delta vision microscopes, image analysis programs, and learned how to interpret the data. And thanks to Akshari-san, I tried my very first western blotting.

I really liked the liberal and relaxing atmosphere in the lab. I found it enjoyable to do research in this environment and Kitagawa lab members were extremely kind and helpful. Also, I had an opportunity to meet amazing researchers in diverse fields of genetics and get insight to their study during my lab visits. The study and work time during the internship was well balanced with time to relax and travel. During weekends I had a chance to visit all around Mishima, do shopping in Tokyo, try attractions in FujiQ and enjoy fireworks by Numazu Riverside. Also had fun at parties and tried Japanese food in local restaurants with my cointerns and lab mates. Weekly Japanese lessons with Miyauchi sensei were also full of fun.
I had limited food range here in Japan, but thanks to the flexible cafeteria menu and well-equipped communal kitchen in the guesthouse I could enjoy a variety of local food as well as experimental new ones.

Overall, the summer in NIG was unforgettable. I made new friends from a Japan, India, Vietnam, Spain, Philippines, Taiwan and Russia.

From this internship, I learned not only new methods and techniques, but also learned to be a better person and better scientist.
Thank you NIG committee, SOKENDAI for giving such an amazing opportunity.