Current Title, Department, Employer:
PhD Student in the lab of Associate Professor Takanori Kokubun
Graduate Course of Health and Social Service, Saitama Prefectural University, Japan

I was born in Saitama, Japan, and have lived there all my life. I studied for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Saitama Prefectural University. During my bachelor’s course, I learned about Physical Therapy in the Department of Health and Social Service Public Health. After my undergraduate course, I got my national license as a physical therapist, and I started clinical work in an orthopedic clinic and research work as a master’s course graduate student. During my master’s course, I followed a specialization in rehabilitation and medical science. Last spring, I was accepted as a PhD student at Saitama Prefectural University. I have been at Takanori Kokubun Lab since my junior year as an undergrad.

Who have been your mentors?
One of the most important mentors for my scientific career was Prof. Takanori Kokubun, who took me into the research field and taught me science is fun! When I was an undergraduate, I took his anatomy and human kinematics class, and he taught me physical therapy is applied science in mechanobiology. It was a great experience that inspired me to pursue further research opportunities. Then, I started my research career in his lab. Now I enjoy working here, and fun science. Dr. Megan Killian was also an amazing mentor for me. I studied in Killian-Abraham Lab. at the University of Michigan as a visiting scholar in 2022. It was really short-term, but I learned about her beautiful work and hospitality. Everyone in these labs and my friends were fantastic and offered great supervision and advice.

What are your specific research areas and expertise?
My project is focused on the mechanobiology of tendon development based on biology and my knowledge based on clinical experience in physical therapy. Physical therapy is a clinical practice in rehabilitation patient care that is far from basic science research. However, it provides us an excellent opportunity to think about theoretical questions about pathogenesis, loading, and its response from the viewpoints of kinesiology, biology, and physiology. Therefore, my project is based on these theoretical mechanisms but uses animal models to elucidate the mechanical force applied to the body and the resulting tendon morphogenesis and degeneration.

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my thesis project, which analyzes the relationship between the development of locomotion ability and tendon maturation mechanism from embryo to postnatal phase in mice. I will redefine the mechanical force in postnatal mice into internal and external forces and evaluate each effect on tendon development.

What has been the biggest challenge for you in your research?
Establishing the theoretical novel mouse model is the biggest challenge for me. Dexterity was required as I performed microsurgery by myself, inserting a needle into the teeny-tiny bones of mice in the early postnatal phase.

What project(s) are you looking forward to in the near future?
I’m hoping to share the new findings based on my novel animal model to control mechanical force in loading.

What do you want to do next in your career?
I would love to research as a PostDoc in the field of biology and bioengineering in the U.S. I have specific knowledge about mechanical forces such as locomotion and movement based on physical therapy. However, I’m not an expert in biology, so I want to be a person who bridges the gap between knowledge in biological research and physical therapy practice. Of course, I would like to get some research skills in biological and bioengineering. After the PosDoc period, I want to continue working on research in academia and the ORS tendon section.

What advice would you give young investigators in the field?
Enjoy science by not only learning about the research process and techniques but also understanding theoretical mechanisms in research.

When you’re not in the lab, what do you like to do for fun?
Outside of the lab, I love watching TV dramas. Now, I am thinking of trying free climbing, so I bought new climbing shoes in Long Beach at the ORS 2024 Annual Meeting.

What resources would you like to see available from the ORS Tendon Section?
I would like to see online lectures and webinars, as it is difficult for people like me who are affiliated with laboratories outside the U.S. to connect easily with the ORS community.

How can we follow you?
Personal Twitter | Personal LinkedIn | ResearchGate | Lab Website