2018 Participants

Click on the student names below to learn more about our participants in the 2018 TOMODACHI STEM @ Rice University Program!

Eria Imada
Hometown in Japan: Tokyo
University in Japan: Osaka University
Major & School Year: Physics, B2
Host Advisor: Prof. Emilia Morosan, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
Host Lab: Morosan Research Group
Research Poster (PDF): “Structural and electronic properties of single crystalline Sr(Ga1-xAlx)4″

Mei Maruo
Hometown in Japan: Kobe
University in Japan: Kyoto University
Major & School Year: Astrophysics, B3
Host Advisor: Prof. David Alexander, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy Host Lab: Rice Space Institute
Research Poster (PDF): “Simulating the Asterospheric Magnetic Field of Exoplanet Host Stars”
Recipient: Best Poster Presentation Award (1st Place)
 “Women in the STEM fields are still a minority in both countries [USA and Japan]. I believe we have to all work on this to create diversity, both globally and locally. Conducting a research experience in a different environment definitely has expanded my vision, and by accepting such perspective, I hope myself to have more strength to enjoy even the difficulties.” ~ Mei Maruo
Ayako Mizuno
Hometown in Japan: Sendai
University in Japan: Tohoku University
Major & School Year: Pharmaceutical Sciences, B2
Host Advisor: Prof. Gang Bao, Dept. of Bioengineering
Host Lab: Laboratory of Biomolecular Engineering and Nanomedicine
Research Poster (PDF): “Targeting MSH2 using CRISPR/Cas9”
Recipient: Best Poster Presentation Award (2nd Place)
 “During this research internship, I realized that I have a lot to learn. However, by my final poster presentation, I also realized that I learned a lot through the past four weeks. I think that this experience in the U.S. will help build my confidence in the future.” ~ Ayako Mizuno
Hiroko Nagafuchi
Hometown in Japan: Tokyo
University in Japan: Waseda University
Major & School Year: Biochemistry, B3
Host Advisor: Prof. Jeffrey Hartgerink, Dept. of Chemistry
Host Lab: Hartgerink Research Group
Research Poster (PDF): “Characterization and Histological Investigation of a Biofunctionalized Multidomain Peptide”
 “I hope to work in an environment where there are as many female leaders and workers as there are men, and science and STEM outreach are valued. Diversity brings excellent and unique ideas, and I was able to experience such diversity during my stay in the U.S. I want to remember the overall environment that I experienced and hope to find graduate school labs and jobs that have such atmospheres.” ~ Hiroko Nagafuchi
Yukari Sakano
Hometown in Japan: Kamakura
University in Japan: Waseda University
Major & School Year: Applied Mechanics & Aerospace Engineering, B2
Host Advisor: Prof. David Alexander, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
Host Lab: Rice Space Institute
Research Poster (PDF): “Exploring the cis‐lunar environment for space infrastructure development”
 “I think this [program] was a very good opportunity to think about my future. Although I’m still not sure whether I will go to a Japanese or American graduate school, through this program I was able to catch a lot of useful information to help me this decision in the future. For example, I felt environment of American universities is more friendly but they are more competitive than Japan. After I come back to Japan, I’ll gather more information about Japanese graduate school, and then be better able to decide the best way to make my dream come true.” ~ Yukari Sakano
Miho Sakuma
Hometown in Japan: Yokohama
University in Japan: Tokyo Women’s Medical University
Major & School Year: Medicine, B4
Host Advisor: Prof. Amina Qutub, Dept. of Bioengineering
Host Lab: Qutub Systems Biology Lab
Research Poster (PDF): “3D Living Neural Networks: Analysis of Developing Neural Stem Cells”
 “Back in Japan, I started studying a clinical clerkship at hospital. It is very different from Japanese style classes, more similar to what I experienced in the U.S. Students should learn clinical medicine on ourselves. In a positive way, I feel comfortable asking more questions than some of my other team mates do. In addition, my confidence encourages me to visit other countries. My interest in international opportunities has become stronger and stronger and I feel this is a desirable goal to have. Now, I hope to live abroad in the future. The message I want to share with potential applicants is that the TOMODACHI STEM program will widen your future possibilities. I wish you could have such a precious experience too.” ~ Miho Sakuma
Shoko Sano
Hometown in Japan: Tokyo
University in Japan: the University of Tokyo
Major & School Year: Space Engineering, B2
Host Advisor: Prof. Marcia O’Malley, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Host Lab: Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab
Research Poster (PDF): “Improving Tactile Feedback with a Torsional Haptic Rocker”
Mari Sato
Hometown in Japan: Kyoto
University in Japan: Doshisha University
Major & School Year: Computer Science, B4
Host Advisor: Prof. Devika Subramanian, Dept. of Computer Science
Host Lab: Subramanian Lab
Research Project (PDF): “Analyzing Twitter Social Networks on Gun Control”
 “There would be no other opportunity like this to know ten female undergraduate students from Japan who are highly motivated to pursue PhDs to be researchers in the future. We still keep in touch and they always motivate me even after the program has ended. Now I am very motivated to attend international conferences and meet new researchers and students from all over the world!” ~ Mari Sato 
Mayu Shibata
Hometown in Japan: Tokyo
University in Japan: Ochanomizu University
Major & School Year: Biology, B2
Host Advisor: Prof. José Onuchic, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
Host Lab: Center for Theoretical Biological Physics
Research Poster (PDF): “Homo Dimer Structure Prediction of Bacterial Signaling Protein Utilizing Structural and Sequence Information”
 “The word “leadership” always sounds strong and reminds me of image of doing something actively, but I thought that this could be one way of showing leadership in encouraging minority people to come into STEM area because in spite of its quietness, doing your best opens door of opportunities to other underrepresented people. Now my future goal is not just to become a female researcher in STEM area but also to always do my best and be able to contribute to opening the door to opportunities for others too.” ~ Mayu Shibata
Utana Umezaki
Hometown in Japan: Osaka
University in Japan: Doshisha University
Major & School Year: Molecular Chemistry and Biochemistry, B3
Host Advisor: Prof. Angel Martí, Dept. of Chemistry
Host Lab: Martí Research Group: Inorganic and Bioinorganic Photochemistry Laboratory
Research Poster (PDF): “Investigation of the Aggregation Process of Photooxidized Aβ”
Recipient: Best Poster Presentation Award (3rd Place)
 “Japan has few female scientists. On the other hand, at Rice, my host lab has an equal number of both men and women. I also interviewed a female professor of physical chemistry on the third week. She told me that I had to change the situation for female researchers in Japan. I think this is the point of this program. I am now a member of the TOMODACHI Generation and I can change this world. I made my dreams came true during this program and I got new future goals.” ~ Utana Umezaki
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