Host institute: Utrecht Medical Center, The Netherlands
Area of research: Cortical functions of cell adhesion molecules related to autism
I have spent one year as a Canon foundation Fellow at the UMC Utrecht and I was working on Autism research there. Autism is a heterogeneous neurodevelopment disorder diagnosed by behavioral abnormalities in early childhood. Although the etiology is complex, genetics is a major component and toward that end several hundred Autism candidate genes have been identified; however, none of the known non-syndromic gene defects accounts for over 1% of autism cases. This high polygenicity of autism calls for convergent approaches that group the genetic findings into the neurobiology and pathophysiology of this disorder. I investigate how Autism target proteins participate in brain development, how brain development is perturbed when these proteins have altered dosage, and what molecular pathways are affected and involved using molecular, morphological and behavioral read-outs this project. In our group, everybody was very kind, extremely helpful and supportive. With Canon foundation support, I could publish one review and one great paper. I acknowledge “Canon foundation support” in both papers. This has been a great experience and I feel very lucky having had the opportunity to stay here for my research career. Also, I have a great experience to stay in Europe. My abroad experience which Canon foundation gave me a chance is great because I could learn a lot of different styles of research and get publications. You know, it is all new culture and language for Japanese people to live in the Europe. I could learn difference of our life style. I was feeling that it is a bit difficult to keep our research job for Japanese women researchers in Japan because of working conditions etc. However, I could find a great role model of “women researchers “ in Europe. It is a precious experience for me. It will help me to keep my researcher’s career in the future. Thanks very much for your all support!