Week 9 - August 17

Konnichi wa from the Primate Research Institute – Week 9 (Aug 10-17)


            These past seven days mark my last full week at the Primate Research Institute, which means my EAPSI fellowship will be coming to an end very shortly.  I’ve had a great time at the PRI these past eight weeks, and I’ve made a ton of new Japanese and other international friends during my stay.  I’ve gained invaluable experience in the lab, and thanks to Dr. Imamura I’ve learned much more about the molecular mechanisms of primate germ cell development and, specifically, spermatogenesis.  Next week, I’ll be heading to Tokyo for the NSF-JSPS closing ceremony where the roughly 100 EAPSI researchers will convene.  So, before I officially finish my stay here at the PRI, I would like to formally thank Drs. Imamura and Hirai for hosting me, my graduate peers in the Molecular Biology section for all of their help, and all of my PRI colleagues for their friendship!


Is It Too Late to Say Sayonara?

My final week at the PRI was also a holiday week in Japan, so just about all of the faculty and students were out of the institute.  Good thing I’ve gained a ton of experience with RT-PCR because I was able to continue collecting data on my own while everyone enjoyed their time with family and friends!  I also used these past few days to catch up on some much needed sleep, work on my final research report to send to JSPS, and make some progress on writing a review article on primate spermatogenesis.


Here are the raw results from a gene expression analysis for NANOS2 – a gene that promotes the sexual differentiation of germ cells into male sperm while suppressing female ova pathways.  On the left is a DNA ladder of known values, and the other 16 wells contain various tissues from juvenile and adult macaques.  Every fourth well contains testis tissue, and we see a nice bright band at our expected size, confirming the role of NANOS2.


As my internship draws to a close, I snapped a quick selfie in front of the main steps of the PRI.  I’ll definitely miss this place, and I can only hope to come back some day in the future!


Like a Flash in Japan

            Eight weeks at the PRI went by really quickly, just like a flash in the pan.  I’m fortunate that I was able to learn some new molecular techniques, collect some valuable data, and meet so many new friends and colleagues.  My travels and experiences around Japan made my stay that much more enjoyable – Fukuoka, Nagoya, Nara, and Osaka were all amazing places to visit.  At the end of the day, I was glad to call Inuyama my home for these past two months.  There was no better way to start my last week at the PRI then a big hanabi (fireworks) festival in Inuyama.  Imamura-sensei, four other PRI graduate students, and myself went down by the Kiso River to see an hour long fireworks show and enjoy a few snacks from out of nearly 100 food stands.

Amazing pyrotechnics burst in the night sky with the famous Inuyama Castle displayed brilliantly below.  Raw tako (octopus), yakisoba (grilled noodles), and other delicious foods were consumed by nearly 300,000 visitors – including us! – while the fireworks burst above!


            Next week, I’ll head to the Grand Palace Hotel in downtown Tokyo for the JSPS Summer Program closing ceremony.  Again, thanks to everyone at the PRI for everything these past eight weeks!  Also, much thanks to my adviser, Dr. Anthony Tosi, and to the KSU Anthropology Department for all of their support.  Thanks for reading, and until next week, matane!


This research is funded by the National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes for U.S. Graduate Students (EAPSI) in collaboration with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).