How I managed in following my research plan:

I joined this particular group because I wanted to repeat my experiments in a new experimental model that they have developed. Thus, I had to adapt my experiments to a new environment and new equipment. Although many of the techniques that I used were not routinely performed in the lab, everyone, from my group and not only, showed extreme availability and kindness in helping me. In the end I managed to successfully conclude all the experiments that I had planned, and also ship material to and from Sweden.

Accomplishments and experiences I would never have gotten unless I joined the Summer Program:

If I did not join this program, I would never have discovered and experienced how living and working in Japan is. I would have never had a chance to work with the amazing people I worked with. I would never have met extraordinary friends from all over the world, who I shared unique moments with, which I am sure will keep us attached forever. In addition to this, my results have already led to establish a collaboration with the group in Tokyo and I am excited about the possibility of joining them again one day.

How I can make use of this experience in my future research:

In the near future, I will use the results obtained in Tokyo as a starting point for a new project, based on the research model that I used there and that we will now start using also in Stockholm, as part of a new collaboration between our groups. Moreover, the people I met and the experiences I had, gave me new exciting inputs on my future research and, more generally, career. I hope to keep collaborating and one day have a chance to go back and have another research experience in Japan.

Message for future participants:

Be open minded, Japanese culture can look and be very different from what we are used to, but differences can teach us a lot, especially about ourselves. Be respectful, but don´t be scared of being yourself. I realized that following my instinct always led to the best results. Don’t be afraid of breaking the ice. Try to engage with your colleagues and to communicate as much as you can. Go out, travel, live everyday with enthusiasm and curiosity, because every day is going to teach you something new and special. Work efficiently and try to involve your colleagues.

Name: Laura Barbieri

Title: PhD student

Institution: Karolinska Institutet

Host Institution in Japan: University of Tokyo