発生工学研究室 相賀研究室 ダネル ライト さん

ダネル ライト
What are you studying in Saga group?
I am studying the mechanisms of sexual differentiation of germ cells in mice. In the embryonic gonad, the germ cells can become either female or male until they receive certain signals. In males, the RNA binding protein NANOS2 is a key player of male differentiation, but the mechanisms for how this protein carries out its functions are not fully known. Currently, I am trying to find out what protein region is necessary for male differentiation to proceed using gene-edited mice.
Why would you like to do this research?
Ever since high school, I have been interested in genetics and even more so when I took it in college. However, during my last year of undergrad, I was mainly focusing on neuroscience and psychology rather than developmental biology. After coming to Japan, I got the opportunity to work in a lab researching mammalian fertilization using mice. I had never worked with mice before and the more I learned to more I wanted to know, hence why I am now studying mammalian development.
What is the point that you selected NIG?
My situation may be a little different than other foreign students as I was already living in Japan when I started searching for graduate schools. After initially going through many different schools and labs, I was really interested in Saga Sensei’s work and wanted to learn more. After discussing with her and visiting the lab, I decided to apply. Another big factor for choosing Idenken (Japanese name of NIG) is that I am not completely fluent in Japanese so the option to take the exam in English was a plus.
Please give us some advice for younger students.
I just started the graduate program last year so the only advice I can give now is to visit and learn what the lab environment is like before deciding because you will spend a lot of time there. For any prospective foreign students, even though the main language at Idenken is English, that is not the case for the rest of the country. I would highly recommend learning some Japanese because it will make life much easier and your experience all the more fruitful.