An invaluable professional and personal opportunity

Fan Catherine Yang (USA)Postdoc

I am currently a JSPS research fellow in the Noji Lab where I am trying couple artificial cell division with DNA replication. I received my PhD from the University of Oxford and my thesis was the construction of a reprogrammable chromsome-free cell. Since then I became interested in building artificial cells as one can understand biology by attempting to build it from scratch. Artificial cells can also give us clues as to how life originated on earth. Whilst it would have been easier to stay in the UK, a professor  pointed out to me that it is very important to build an international network and understand different ways of thinking. The Noji Lab has done incredibly interesting work on artificial cells and I felt I could learn a lot, especially as a biologist, if I joined the lab. The lab does indeed have great resources and a wealth of knowledge that I am taking advantage of. It is also interesting to observe how large and successful laboratories operate. In 2013 I was a summer intern through the MIT-Japan program at the University of Tokyo in the Aida Lab so the environment wasn’t entirely foreign to me. However, properly living and working in Japan has been an adjustment. But I believe when we are out of our comfort zone it is a great opportunity to grow as a scientist and as a person. I am looking forward to my journey at the University of Tokyo and in Japan.