Joy of research

I have always loved biology since high school. I treasured my biology resource book, which was a supplement to my high school biology textbook, and carried it with me in my moving luggage when I was in graduate school and when I got a job as a postdoctoral researcher in the United States.
However, in retrospect, that was not synonymous with “joy of research. It was not until I arrived at Kyushu University that I realized how interesting research really is. Looking back, I was anxious during my graduate school days until I obtained my Ph.D.. I was doing research every day, both happy and sad about the results of my experiments and worried about my future. During my postdoctoral fellowship in the U.S., I was frantically conducting experiments in order to renew my contract every year and had no time to truly enjoy my research. After going through that period, I was finally given the responsibility and freedom to develop my own research as the principal investigator of my laboratory at Kyushu University.

Based on the smooth muscle research I conducted in my doctoral course with a view to medical applications and the in vivo animal development research using model organisms I had cultivated in the U.S., I conducted research on plasticity of skeletal muscle and adipocytes with the aim of applying them to meat at Kyushu University. In 2021, I established the Laboratory of Animal Life Science and started research on smooth muscle cell lineage using chicken embryo models and meat “seed” cells for cultured meat applications. Thanks to the accumulation of research to date, we have found a lot of interesting and fascinating data. When do you feel “joy of research”? In my case, it is the moment when a research project develops through discussions. When I see the same experimental results but am exposed to different considerations from my own, new ideas and countless things I want to verify come to my mind and expand.

In most cases, it is a comment made by an undergraduate or graduate student in response to the results of an experiment, rather than a highly specialized discussion at an academic conference. For me, it is a precious moment when a development of research that I could not have come up with on my own comes to light.
The unexpected and unexpected comments made by students are words that would not have come out unless they had thought about the experimental data in their own way. I believe that this is proof that the students find the research interesting. Most students are unaware of this, but it is a privilege to be able to witness the moment when they consider the results of their research in their own way and tell me, “This result could be interpreted in this way”.

I feel happy to share with my lab members the joy of being the first to discover the data that no one else in the world has yet noticed. At the same time, I challenge myself every day to do what I can to maintain an environment that makes research interesting for everyone and to share that joy.