Current Position: Graduate Student, Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
I immensely enjoyed my experience with the NanoJapan, both culturally and academically. For my internship was at RIKEN in Saitama (close to the Tokyo area) under the advisement of Prof. Koji Ishibashi and his lab. My project involved the fabrication of single electron transistors, using single walled carbon nanotubes. It was a great learning experience as I got use really fancy instruments like the Scanning Electron Microscope, Atomic Force Microscope and E-beam Lithography. Although, my NanoJapan project was in the field of nanoelectronics, which is very different from what my research project is now, I think that it helped me learning basic semiconductor lab techniques and get trained on using instruments that are basic to any field in nanotechnology. I really enjoyed working and hanging out with students and postdocs in lab at RIKEN.
On another note, our excursion to Kyoto was the most memorable for me. I really enjoyed the tea ceremony, Waraku, and calligraphy workshops. On weekends, a few of us NanoJapan students working in different parts of Japan used to get together to visit a new place, go shopping or just hang-out. The Japanese transport system is something that you will come to love and live by, it is by far the safest, most efficient and reliable public system I have come across. To meet the deficiency in my limited Japanese skills, acquired during the three-week orientation, I carried around my handy Japanese phrase-book, whenever I went out to eat, shop or just travel in general. Also for the “real” Japan experience, I would recommend going out with your Japanese friends from the lab.
Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to continue formal Japanese language study at Rice. But I have been reading and learning from my Japanese language books that I had brought back with me, whenever I get a chance or just feel nostalgic. However, I am currently doing research in the Drezek Biophotonics Lab at Rice in the field of nanobiotechnology.
Here is a brief overview of my current project:
Gold nanoparticles with unique optical properties and inherent biocompatibility can be used as biological sensors. Nanorods and nanoshells are examples of such nanoparticles, whose surface electronic properties can be tuned by varying their geometrical parameters. Nanoparticles active in the near infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum can be engineered, minimizing the absorption and scattering due to biological chromophores. Thus nanoparticles are ideal candidates for molecular imaging and photothermal therapy of cancer. In this project, we seek to compare and optimize the use of immunotargeted nanorods and nanoshells as contrast agents in such biological applications.
Before I left for Japan I wish I had...
Followed the advice of the NanoJapan program and packed light! I also wish I had the opportunity to climb Mt. Fugi while I was in Japan.
My favorite experience in Japan was...
Though it is really hard to name one great experience, I think my last day in Japan was the probably the most fun. My fellow program participant Lily Banerjee and I decided to see and do everything we had desired to in Japan, but hadn’t gotten to it. Among the many places we visited in and around Nikko: Chuzenji Lake, Kegon Falls, Toshogu Shrine were the most beautiful sites. Then later in the evening, on the spur of the moment, we decided to take the train back to Tokyo, and spent the rest of the evening at Disneyland/Disneysea.