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Alumni Voices

Associate
Hakuhodo Consulting Asia Pacific

Karina Jayaputra

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Completed in March 2016
Karina Jayaputra
 Before Japan, I was in the faculty of medicine in Indonesia. I once aspired to become a physician, but I had a change of heart.
 Going to Japan one month after the Tohoku earthquake in 2011 was definitely a controversial idea to some. As a MEXT Scholarship student for undergraduate studies, I went despite not knowing the culture or the language, because I had a hunch that this would open the door to more international opportunities.
 As I was still interested in health care but wanted to view it in a bigger scope, I chose pharmaceutical science and was assigned to the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Regulatory Science under Prof. Ono. To my surprise, the professor, seniors and even the secretaries were very encouraging. They were there for me to discuss my research, and because of all of them, I could get published in a journal within one year of my undergraduate study. I also had a great half-year internship via my senior at a top research institute in Japan, investigating the world’s health policy for the Ministry of Labor, Health and Welfare. Even now, I am still grateful for the opportunity to know them, and I wish them all the best in their endeavors.
 Besides the laboratory, the International Student Advising Room (ISAR) is doing everything to make sure you settle in well. They organize many annual events to get to know other students, provide Japanese classes, and assist you in everything from educational matters to living in Japan. With the support from the laboratory and ISAR, I believe any student will have a fruitful experience in this school, both academically and socially.
 Currently, I am interested in design thinking, and pursuing my career in a private consultancy in Singapore after working in Tokyo. I want to explore idea-building and the international market before I get back to health care again. Looking back, I was glad that I went to Japan. The rigorous education, opportunities to other countries, and the international friends that I came across throughout my study are priceless.
 Now, I am glad that I had a change of heart.
Professor
School of Pharmacy
Lanzhou University
China

Zhen Wang

PhD completed in September 2015
Laboratory of Synthetic Organic Chemistry
Zhen Wang
 The Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the University of Tokyo, which attracts many students like myself who plan to make contributions to human health, is a friendly and vibrant department famous for its high academic standards, excellent atmosphere, and great environment for study and research.
 In 2012, I was lucky to be enrolled in the Laboratory of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, which has ten students from different countries. We can communicate everything with each other in English fluently, and thus, we can tell that Kanai’s lab is a big international family. Under the kind, patient and professional supervision of Kanai-sensei and with the help of Japanese students and international students, I not only learned a lot about organometallic and medicinal chemistry, but also learned how to start a project and run a lab.
 To help us adapt to the life in Japan, a series of unique events, including parties and educational trips, were frequently held by Kanai’s lab and the International Student Advising Room (ISAR). These events helped us better understand Japanese culture and communicate with Japanese students. All these activities made my life in Japan much more convenient and unforgettable. With the friendly and professional help from ISAR, lead by lecturer Kikuchi, I didn’t need to spend too much time dealing with trivial things in life. As a result, I could fully focus on my research and enjoy the life in Japan. What’s more, the three years I spent in Tokyo were really fantastic and enjoyable, despite my little knowledge about Japanese language. Last but not least, during my time in the University of Tokyo, I became a father as well—my son and daughter were born successively at that time. Therefore, I hope that they can also study in the University of Tokyo someday.
 Due to my organometallic chemistry achievements made in the University of Tokyo, I got a professor position in Lanzhou University after being awarded a PhD degree in 2015. One year later, I successfully earned support from the national “Thousand Talents” youth program, one of the greatest honors for young scientists in my country. In the future, I want to devote all my time to the development of medical chemistry and continue to challenge the most difficult of topics, as I have done in the University of Tokyo. At the same time, since I enjoyed the research atmosphere in the University of Tokyo so much, I am exerting my utmost efforts to promote academic communication between China, Japan, and other countries. It is my dream to become a contributor to the development of both science and human society.
Pharmacist
Department of Pharmacy
The University of Tokyo Hospital

Sayo Ito

B.S. completed in March 2013
Laboratory of Drug Informatics
Sayo Ito
 I joined the Department of Pharmacy (six-year program) of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and since graduation, I have been working as a pharmacist at the University of Tokyo Hospital’s Pharmaceutical Department.
 After completing coursework at the Department of Pharmacy and passing clinical (OSCE) and written (CBT) examinations, students can spend the five months between the end of their fourth year and the summer of their fifth in hospital/pharmacy training, each lasting two-and-a-half months. Even if you do not pursue pharmacist work in the future, I think experiencing this glimpse at clinical work is both important and quite fun. My internship at the University of Tokyo Hospital allowed me to not only leverage the pharmacotherapy I learned in my university coursework; it also gave me a full overview of medical treatment that covered the entire body, including electrolytes and nutrition. The pharmacy training, held at a pharmacy near the University, was a great opportunity, giving me a real insight into the position of publicinsurance compounding pharmacies in regional treatment.
 In the laboratory I belonged to between my fourth and sixth year, I worked on the theme of “antidepressant migration into the fetus during pregnancy.” I devised a unique compartment model for pregnancy, connecting the mother and placenta to the fetus, and proposed a method of predicting density levels within the blood of the fetus. The fundamental pharmacokinetics I learned through this is still coming in very handy in my current work.
 I say this because in on-the-field medicine, you often have to make decisions on the direction of treatment with little information to go on. Are pregnant women and newborn children included in clinical trials during the pharmaceutical development process? If you want to give a new anti-cancer drug to a patient undergoing dialysis, is a suitable dosage included in the documentation? Does data exist on interactions between every combination of drugs available in the world? The answer to all these questions is no. To make appropriate decisions in these situations where you only have limited amounts of information, you need to use the principles of pharmaceutics, starting with pharmacology and pharmacokinetics, to logically predict what may happen. At times like these, I feel that the fundamental education and logical thinking skills I learned in my years at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences help me out enormously, and I’m glad for it.
 No matter which laboratory you join and which field you proceed into, I hope you will learn a great deal during your academic years with your friends, and I hope you will have a lot of fun along the way. I wish all of you great success in your life at the Faculty.
Quantitative Clinical Pharmacology
Translational Research and Early Clinical (TREC)
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

Takuya Kato

PhD completed in March 2012
Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacokinetics
Takuya Kato
 After joining the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, I conducted research at the Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacokinetics. Upon completing my doctoral course, I joined the company that I currently work for. I do not work as a researcher; instead, I am involved with the development of pharmaceutical products at the clinical phase (the phase where clinical trials are conducted and marketing applications are submitted for approval), planning the clinical development strategy/clinical study design and analyzing results. Since trials provide only a limited amount of data, it becomes necessary to think scientifically about the results obtained, considering what we can safely claim and what risks remain. What would be the most suitable dosage/regimen for people in different regions? Is it safe to prescribe to elderly patients?
Is it all right for patients to take it along with other medications they’ve been taking? Those are the questions I think about as I conduct my day-to-day work.
 The attraction of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences is the ability to study a wide range of fundamental and practical sciences, including organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and life science. For me as a student, with only a vague idea that I wanted to work in medical field somehow, being able to experience assorted studies in medicine and drug discovery was extremely helpful, since it allowed me to choose a research lab with a grasp of what fields I had an aptitude for. Every lab, no matter what the field, is filled with world-class professors—joining any one of them allows you to gain specialization, as well as the ability to think logically and plan/carry out a research project by yourself (as well as the ability to lead junior colleagues).
 The work I am involved in right now naturally requires a broad scientific knowledge, but I feel that the abilities I gained during my time at the Faculty to carry out a project by myself and think logically about matters help me out more in my daily work.
 The Faculty asks for a high level of performance and I had to deal with a lot of difficulty, but I think the abilities I gained through that experience—the ability to make it in modern society—would help me in any field I decided to pursue after graduation. Many Faculty graduates are exercising their abilities in fields outside of research, and I hope that everyone joining the Faculty avoids fixating too much on their perceived potential and remains active in a wide variety of fields.
The University of Tokyo

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International Core Research Center for Phototheranostics Medical Innovation Initiative
One-Stop Sharing Facility Center for Future Drug Discoveries Drug Discovery Initiative, The University of Tokyo
UTokyo Alumni The University of Tokyo Foundation

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