Conohana-san of the Month March edition (Part2)


In ‘Conohana-san of the Month’, we discuss the experiences of senior female researchers who have successfully managed to balance their research/work with life events such as childbirth, child care and family care.



Introduction of Dr. Sayaka Yamashita


Organizations: Local Food Science Course, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, Domain of Life and Environmental Sciences (Local Food Science), Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering at the University of Yamanashi (Division of Life and Environmental Sciences)

 Specialized field: Molecular Biology (Molecular biology of type 1 diabetes)



Thank you for using our *Female Researcher Supporter System (Also known as Career Assistants: CA). You are now in the child-rearing years. Do you think you have managed to balance the childcare and your job?


*Female Researchers Supporter System (CA): A system of the University of Yamanashi to coordinate volunteer assistant students with female researchers (or their spouse researchers) for their research not to be impeded by their life events (pregnancy, child rearing, elderly care, etc).


 Well, that’s a good question (^^;). Actually I’m having a tough time since I became a parent, especially due to time constraints. I think this is common for parents with a job, but I am caught between my passion for work and my feelings for my child, for whom I want to be with as much as I can. It often happens that I’m fully immersed in my job when it is time for picking up my child (lol). In such a condition, I am greatly helped by the research support from the career assistants (CA). My research requires many experiments, but I have to leave the laboratory even if the experiment is not completed, because the pick-up time is fixed. When children are small, they have to go to bed before 8 or 9 o’clock at night. They have to have supper time, bathing time, etc before that, so the time for leaving laboratory cannot be controlled anyway. Thankfully, there are CA students who steadily continue the experiments while I am home, where I am indispensable. I really appreciate that.



We too appreciate that comment (lol). Those CA students with a sense of purpose also seem to have learned something important from the activities. Now then, here are some questions for you from CA students.




How do the researches in the fields of biology take care of animals or living things such as bacteria during vacation time? 


 When we have animals to take care of, we maintain the care by taking turns with the students in the laboratory. Also, there are times when living things are not in the laboratory, so we make vacation plans, taking into account the period when the care is not necessary.

  For those who are studying cultivated cells like me, frozen storage is one effective method. As for the daily care of our research materials, it’s necessary to make every effort to prevent contamination (otherwise other bacteria multiples!), by backing up the cultivated cells, or growing them to spare. It’s really troublesome because the intruders are invisible germs.


 So, you have to wear a white coat in your laboratory? (or an overall apron like some focal figure?)


 Well, no, I rarely put on the lab coat. In my research, what I wear does not affect sanitation. Of course I sometimes wear a white coat because there are places where you cannot enter without wearing it, and I remember I was always wearing it while I was a student. Oh, yes, I wear it in my lab when it is cold (lol). Those coats are made of thick fabric so they are warm. While you are wearing it, you can go out for a while without an overcoat, even in winter.



Is that so? In my imagination researchers were always wearing white coats. I asked that because every time I see you I’m impressed that you are so stylishly dressed. You look like someone in the fashion industry (lol). The gap between your fashion and your being a scientist is also appealing.


 You are flattering me (#^_^#). But in fact, I’m interested in fashion. I’m fond of an aggressive type of music too. I think it’s good to have various favorites or things you are into. I think the more distractions you have, the more easily are you relieved of the burdens of job and home making.



 I agree with you! I know that you have many more interests than mentioned here (!) But so much for today (lol). Thank you for joining us, and your continued cooperation with us