A second year PhD student, Kazuto Kawamura, was born in Aomori, Japan but raised in New York State. His major was biology, specifically neurobiology. He came to OIST from Tokyo, where he worked as a lab technician at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science. It was there after doing lab work for the first time that he became interested in pursuing a PhD. “The best part about it is discovering something new,” says Kazuto.
After hearing about OIST from both friends and colleagues, Kazuto sent in his application. “I thought it would be a good fit for me because I grew up in the United States, but I was working in Japan at the time.” While recommendations led him to apply, it was the atmosphere at OIST which he was most enthusiastic about. “After coming to admissions interviews, meeting other applicants who were being interviewed and seeing how really international OIST was… I really felt like I wanted to do science here.”
Kazuto is now interested in neurodegenerative diseases. He uses simple worms to study how brain cells deteriorate in an effort to find an analogue for human brain cells, in the hopes of one day helping to prevent such diseases as Alzheimer’s. When asked what he liked about his current research the most, he answered outright “the scientific freedom to pursue what I want to pursue.”