Environmental Factor, April 2009, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
NIEHS Welcomes Japanese Students
By Eddy Ball
On March 9, 16 high school students from the Mizusawa Super Science High School in Iwate, Japan visited NIEHS for an afternoon seminar as part of an ongoing exchange program with the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM). The half-day program featured an overview of environmental health science research at the Institute and hands-on learning in three of the Institute's laboratories.
The program, one of several outreach efforts for secondary school students conducted each year by NIEHS, was organized by NIEHS Public Information Officer John Peterson and Steve Warshaw, Ph.D., vice chancellor for academic affairs at NCSSM (http://www.ncssm.edu/) . NIEHS Pharmacogenetics Group (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/atniehs/labs/lrdt/pharmaco/staff.cfm) Principal Investigator Masahiko Negishi, Ph.D., and Staff Scientist Tatsuya Sueyoshi, Ph.D., provided classroom instruction in Japanese on "Environment-Gene Interactions" and "Fluorescent Protein GFP and Biology."
Negishi also translated Peterson's introductory comments and a presentation by Greg Scott on "Genetically Engineered Mice to Study Diseases." Visiting Fellows Kosuke Saito, Ph.D., and Hisako Miyakawa, Ph.D. (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/atniehs/labs/ltp/freerad/staff.cfm), accompanied students on lab tours and translated for them.
Lab presentations included "Electron Microscopy, Histology and Immunohistochemistry" by Electron Microscopy Biologist Deloris Sutton, "See GFP in a Cell with Your Own Eyes" by Sueyoshi, and "See the Atomic Structure of Protein Through X-Ray" by Structure and Function Research Group Leader Lars Pedersen, Ph.D.
As the students prepared to return to Durham, Negishi said of the program, "If just one of these kids gets interested in research and decides to pursue a career in biomedical research, it will be a success."
The exchange program between NCSSM and schools in the Iwate Prefecture, a district in northern Japan, was started six years ago. The program is part of an initiative by schools in Iwate to expose students in the largely rural district to science and technology. During their visit to the Triangle, the students also visited Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and stayed on the NCSSM campus. Next year, according to Warshaw, NCSSM students will visit Japan as part of the exchange program.