Konnichi wa from Kent State!
This past month, I was fortunate enough to receive an EAPSI grant from the National Science Foundation which will provide the opportunity to work with a leading Japanese research team, headed by Dr. Masanori Imamura, at the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University, My graduate research at Kent State focuses on differences among macaque spermatogenesis genes on the DNA sequence level. In Japan this summer, however, I will be learning techniques for examining differences at the protein level, which will dovetail nicely (as Dr. Raghanti always says) with my current research.
The most interesting part of this summer collaboration is the primate model itself, the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) – these are the monkeys that famously hang out in the Japanese hot springs (Figure 1). These monkeys are extremely interesting because when the non-breeding season comes around, the males start to shut down spermatogenic activity –their testes even become smaller (a process called recrudescence)! Then, when it comes time to breed, everything fires back up again. By comparing testis specimens collected from males in both the reproductive and non-reproductive seasons, Dr. Imamura and I will be able to elucidate some of the underlying molecular mechanisms critical to primate spermatogenesis.
Figure 1. Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys, relaxing in the hot springs of Nagano. Credit: http://animalstime.com/japanese-macaque-facts/
I am extremely excited to travel to Japan and to learn new molecular techniques under the tutelage of Dr. Imamura and his team. I look forward to working with my new Japanese colleagues and to be a part of the budding research relationship between the KSU Department of Anthropology and the PRI of Kyoto University. Lastly, I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Anthony Tosi, for all of his help thus far, as well as the entire Department of Anthropology here at Kent State University. Thanks for reading! Matane!