Biological Macromolecules Laboratory, Maeshima Group  IMAI, Ryosuke

IMAI, Ryosuke
Please tell us about your research.
When medicines such as anticancer drugs are delivered to cells, they enter the nucleus and damage the DNA. I would like to identify how the mobility of DNA changes upon such treatments. By using a specially designed microscope, I am trying to directly observe the movement of fluorescently-labeled proteins (histones) around which DNA is wrapped.
Why did you choose the Maeshima Group?
When I was an undergraduate student I came across a news article introducing a research, and thought that it would be a fascinating topic for me to work on. At that time I didn’t know whose research it was. When I joined the NIG tour, however, I happened to meet Prof. Maeshima, and found out that he was the very person who conducted that research! I thought “Wow! I am now at the place where that work was done!” Talking with him in front of his poster, I was so impressed by his research that without looking around other labs I just made the decision with my intuition. To tell the truth, before joining the NIG tour, I was thinking about staying in my university for graduate school and thereafter getting a job in the private sector. However, when I joined the NIG tour, academic research career looked extremely attractive! Although choosing this career path may make it difficult to get a company job, research life looked interesting enough for me to give it a try.
How did you learn about NIG?
An acquaintance of mine told me that there is a research institute in Shizuoka that provides graduate education. The day I looked at the website of NIG was the closing date for application of the NIG tour, so I applied on the spot. Since then everything went on swimmingly. It was a last-minute application, and the professor whose article I am interested in was working at the institute - it might be linked by fate!
How was the NIG’s bus tour for prospective students?
Many students asked rather direct questions to graduate students who guided the tour. For example, I asked what their TOEIC scores are like. Such questions are difficult to ask in front of many people but could be asked on the bus; I thought that was pretty good.
How is your student life?
There are not many students at NIG. Because of the small size of the student pool, I know not only my classmates but also most of the senior students and professors. People here are so friendly and accommodating, and my seniors take good care of me. I am a member of the badminton club. This is a good opportunity to meet students, postdocs and professors from various laboratories.
The graduate university is a part of a research institute. What do you think about that?
Laboratories at NIG interact with each other more actively than those at my university. For example my thesis advisor Prof. Maeshima has introduced to me a professor of another laboratory, so that I could talk with him and learn experimental methods from the postdoc belonging to his laboratory.
I can tell you an impressive episode: I was doing an experiment and found that I urgently needed a reagent that we did not have in our lab. Then Prof. Maeshima simply told me “Why don’t you ask other people in the institute?” Using an institutional mailing list I sent an e-mail to all NIG members to ask for a dose of the reagent, and within 15 minutes I received e-mails from many labs offering their lab stock. I was really surprised that the boundaries between laboratories are almost non-existent.
What would be your message to future graduate students at the NIG?
Firstly, you should talk face-to-face with the professor you are interested in, and also with all the laboratory members if possible. Initially I had been only interested in Prof. Maeshima’s research that was introduced in the news article, but after I had a chance to talk with him, I found his research field even more interesting. That’s how I developed my desire to study here at NIG.
Secondly, you should recognize that going to graduate school has many positive aspects. Most people say going on to a doctoral course is hard, but it is no use being negative. I would advise to actively challenge various things, for example by talking to many people.