Theresa Maria Sommer

The opportunity of attending the NIGINTERN programme was much more than I initially expected it to be, in terms of learning outcome and cultural experience.
I joined the lab of Sakai-sensei (Model Fish Genetics) where I was focusing on heterochronic parabiosis in zebrafish and in vitro differentiation of spermatogonial stem cells. As I have not had any experience with zebrafish before, I was trained in handling, mating and genetic manipulation of these animals in parallel to performing my experiments.

I could feel that my colleagues and supervisors were keen on having me in the lab, as I did not only learn but could share memories with them such as enjoying lunch together at a traditional Japanese (Sushi) restaurant or harvesting fruits from the Biwa-tree in front of the lab.

My working hours were quite flexible and therefore I immersed myself in the Japanese culture to the fullest! When we were not biking through Mishima, me and my NIGINTERN colleagues explored Tokyo, Yokohama and Kamakura – walking the busy Shibuya crossing, enjoying the tasty Ramen broth in the Ramen museum or standing next to the 11 meters tall Big Buddah of Kamakura. However, my personal highlights were the climb of Mount Fuji and the tea ceremony organised by our Japanese teacher. (It is worth mentioning that the Japanese classes were an enjoyable break from the lab work and quite helpful for our excursions)

As my internship is now coming to an end, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the organisation and the management of the NIGINTERN programme! It was an unique adventure and valuable experience –