This month’s interview is with “Ms. M” who is the second year of her master’s course in Bioengineering, the Graduate School of Medical and Engineering Science, Department of Education at the University of Yamanashi.
● Hello, may I come in? … Wow, this room is really like a laboratory (lol).
Sure, welcome! Thank you for coming today (^^) It’s a little cramped with these experimental devices, but please take a seat!
●Oh, there’s a lot of proverbs and messages written here and there… (Actually I had learned that Dr. Naganuma knew a lot of sayings.) Is there one that you were influenced by?
There are many! I was heavily influenced (lol). For example, this one goes “A possibility is born out of the courage of a challenger.” I’ve been encouraged by these words in doing my everyday experiments. Dr. Naganuma makes many message papers for us combining words and photos. Here are many encouraging messages from a picture book by an illustrator, Bon Voyage, the poems by Mitsuo Aida, the last maxim by shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, etc. They are a part of the attractiveness of this laboratory.
● I see … it’s deep. What made you enter this laboratory, Ms. M?
I’ve been fond of microorganisms since I was in a primary school, without particular reason…(having glimpsed at my memo) Oh, not organisms, but microorganisms, MICRO-organisms.(lol). The microorganisms in the primary-school level are water flea, crescent-moon algae, etc. I really liked living things I could see only through microscope, being moved by that “they are living.” And I had an opportunity to receive Dr. Naganuma’s delivery lecture in my high school by coincidence. I was captured by the story of “Lipomyces yeast” in his lecture. I thought, wow, they seem interesting, yeast, research, the lecturer, all of them (lol). That was a predestined encounter, I believe.♪
● So, that delivery lecture made you enter the Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Engineering (now the Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences by reorganizing), of this university where Dr. Naganuma belonged, right?
No! I entered the course of Soft Science at the Faculty of Education and Human Sciences.
● Oh?! Really?! I’ve already imagined a “moving reencounter” based on the “predestined encounter” (lol).
(Chuckle) At the time I received his lecture, my admission to the Faculty of Education and Human Sciences had already been decided on recommendation. At the time I just recognized that he belonged to the same university I would attend.
●I see. Was it also because you liked microorganisms that you chose the Soft Science course?
Well, yes. When I was in high school, I became fond of not only microorganisms but also science and mathematics courses in general. By the university’s reorganization, the Soft Science Course will be ended when the present senior students finish the course. This course is to learn science widely and shallowly. Thanks to this wide learning, I found myself having been fascinated by Lipomyces yeast all the time. So, when I was a senior, I asked my laboratory teacher then if I would be able to study at Dr. Naganuma’s laboratory in the Faculty of Engineering.
● So you had a “moving reencounter” with Dr. Naganuma at last!
I’m not sure that was “moving” (lol). Don’t you think that a final thesis is a precious “chance to research” for undergraduate students? I wanted to do research themed on yeast by all means. The teacher at the Soft Science course agreed and encouraged me to do my graduation work at the Faculty of Engineering, and Dr. Naganuma also kindly accepted me in his laboratory. After I came here, I found this laboratory really interesting, so I went on to the master’s course staying here. I owe a lot to many generous people that I can still stay in this laboratory. I’m really grateful!
●You entered this laboratory that way. It means that you have just entered the third year of your engaging in the experiment of “Lipomyces yeast”. You jumped into this laboratory with such aspiration, and what is your impression of this research now?
I’ve gotten hooked to it! I cannot enjoy it more! I think that is because there are a lot of new things for me to know. When I came here as a senior student, I was almost an outsider to other students at the Faculty of Engineering. I didn’t know common-sense things in the Faculty of Engineering, and had less experience with experiments. But it worked the other way and I have had a lot of discoveries=a lot of fun (lol). Furthermore, the doctor, the juniors and the seniors were all very kind to teach me things. I appreciate that I can be here thanks to the kindness of many people. I’m really grateful! (The second time she said this today!)
● You are fully enjoying being here. What in the world it is about “Lipomyces yeast” that makes your study so enjoyable?
To put simply, it is the yeast being instrumental to produce biofuel. I hear that the study to produce energy using this yeast has been continued for 46 years. And in one or two years, this study may be completed, and the diesel fuel may be replaced by the biofuel.
●46 years? The research has such a long history! And do you mean that you would be able to witness the final project? How great!
Yes, 46 years. When I think of that, I get a mixed feeling about the responsibility, commitment, gratitude, etc. It made me think I have to stick to it!
(This is Dr. Naganuma, much talked about!→)