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Q. Please introduce yourself. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
My name is Srishti Agarwal and I’m from Delhi, India. I finished my Master’s Degree in M. Tech in Biotechnology at Indian Institutes of Technology, Hyderabad. Then I decided to do PhD to broaden my horizon and also to have a global perspective of research.
I have been selected as a “MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. hereafter MEXT) 2016 fellow” to pursue my PhD in Japan.
Currently, I am pursuing my PhD under Prof. Sakthi Kumar at Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre (hereafter BNERC), Graduate School of Interdisciplinary New Science (hereafter IdNS), Toyo University.
Q. What made you to choose Toyo University for your research studies?
My research interests are in the area of Nanotechnology, and Japan is one of the front-runners in this field. This is my main motivation for studying in Japan. I chose BNERC and IdNS Toyo University to pursue my research studies because of the incredible breadth of research being conducted in the area of Nano-technology. Here is so well-facilitated laboratory with advanced equipment, supportive environment, committed faculty and staff that in every way lead you to your best positive outcome. I am impressed and satisfied by the support I got from the faculty members and the office staff who always answered my queries. Since communication is mainly in English, language barrier is not a problem. Such exposure and working with experienced professionals at BNERC Toyo University as well as with collaborative international institutions in emerging area of Bio-Nano applications would shape my career to contribute effectively and provide technological solutions.
So, it didn’t take much of convincing for me to choose Toyo University for pursuing my Doctoral studies.
Q. Are you enjoying your stay in the BNERC?
Of course. I am enjoying the excellent working environment and immense support from faculty and colleagues.
Q. What are the hardships you faced while coming over to Japan for higher studies?
I had no problem to coming over to Japan because I had been provided adequate support to travel and support my studies. I feel proud to get selected for MEXT fellowship as an Indian. Before coming to Japan I thought that living in a different country and getting settled would be very difficult and would take a long time to get used to. When I live in Japan I noticed the people are very polite and helpful. This made it easier to adjust and settle here. Communication at BNERC Toyo University is mainly in English, so language barrier is not a problem. I had an opportunity to meet my “SENSEI” Prof. Kumar and to know about Toyo University and the research facilities. Hence I didn’t have much difficulty to cope up with the environment. Initially, I used to think that Japanese language is tough. It is very different from Indian language, hence, it takes time to learn. But as I am learning it now, I realize it is definitely an added feather to your cap and gives you an extra edge in the workforce apart from making your daily life easy.
Q. What are the surprising facts you found while comparing your country and Japan?
Coming from a country with very rich cultural background as India, Japanese culture is very much fascinating. It is vastly different from any cultures that I have ever encountered, and I feel very fortunate to have this experience. Learning about the Japanese way of life has taught me to analyze my own behavior on a daily basis. Japanese people are extremely polite and subdued, greatly contrasting to the loud Indian populous! Therefore I am learning how to speak softly and gently, keeping in consideration the convenience of those around me.
Another factor I have to consider is time management. The Japanese are extremely punctual and efficient, and I have to learn how to alter my pattern of time-management for effective work function and delivery.
I thought I would get culture shock and get problems due to language barrier. However I have never experienced culture shock or language barrier as such with humble people all around and with caring friends. Moreover my friends and colleagues always encouraged me to learn Japanese language, which is making my life smooth in Japan. We can complete the research studies in English, but knowledge of Japanese language will be helpful and supportive for daily life.
Adjusting just requires some patience and understanding the new culture as well as a willingness to adapt.
Q. What is your recent research topic? Can you briefly explain?
My research is the developing drug delivery system for brain cancer. Treatments of cancers related to the brain have posed extreme complications due to their location and the complexity in reaching them. Chemotherapeutics rarely reach these tumors, mainly due to the selective trafficking monitored by the Blood Brain Barrier (hereafter BBB), and are also accompanied by the non-specific targeting and accumulation risk to normal cells.
Smart combinations of different Nano scale materials have led to the development of multifunctional Nano-platforms, which can facilitate simultaneous cancer diagnosis and therapy.
Hence my work focuses on synthesizing Nano-delivery system, which can efficiently cross BBB and specifically target the tumor cells.
Q. What inspired you to become a scientist?
My inspiration to become a scientist was to develop something that would make a direct difference to the life of others. It is my passion to develop some affordable Nano-technology solutions in the area of medical diagnostics and health care and deliver technological solutions in terms of process or product for the benefit of society.
Q. What are your dreams and goals regarding future research?
My goals are to excel and perform in my career in the field of Nano-biotechnology to serve people across the globe.
Q. Please give a message to the overseas students who think about coming to Japan for their research study.
Japan is a remarkable country with immense opportunities and warm and hospitable people. The possibilities for conducting world-class research and pursuing commercial technological applications are boundless. I urge you to make the most of it by meeting new people, engaging in new cultures, learning the Japanese and traditions and exploring this beautiful country!
Studying in Japan is a great opportunity.
Japan is world’s best in Technology, educational standards are high, excellent laboratory facilities; it is worth to study at Japan for people who have passion for research.To have a significant and lasting research contribution to the field which we belong to, sometimes we need to think out of the box. Access to advance technologies with safe environment along with timely guidance is indispensable and that is easily available in Japan.
I would like to tell to come to Japan for higher education that Japan is a perfect choice if you are willing to work hard and want to indulge in profound research