In a quest for scientific romance

Yasuhito Sugano

 

YASUHITO SUGANO 

It was the end of January 2011, in Joensuu, when I stepped on the ground of Finland for the first time to initiate my self-training as a postdoctoral researcher. I still remember my first cultural shock about the extreme environment (below -20°C) and the exotic language in Finland. I was wondering whether I can survive in this country. However, at the same time I was convinced that this is the best environment for my self-training and objectively assessing my potential of becoming an independent international scientist. There was a cultural challenge where I had to adjust and develop, and this involved adapting to new foods, developing my human network and research philosophy.

I will give you a short description on my background. In the bachelor thesis, I studied the metabolic system of a specific microorganism, used to building up a bioinformatics model (‘E-Cell Project’), with help of biochemistry and mathematics. This was a new approach to studying complex life systems systematically. From this I could see the added impact and the direct relevance of cross-sectoral research. I learned that you can even understand highly complex life phenomena through basic research. In my master studies I focused on the functions of biochemical catalysts including purified enzymes and microorganisms, designed for the production of alternative energy sources from renewable resources, such as biomass.

In September 2010 I got my PhD at the Department of Applied Physics, Osaka University (Japan). In the doctoral work, I studied material science and electrochemistry, especially from a physiochemical perspective. I could eventually complete my PhD work by finding a new electrochemical reaction pathway, which has still been one of the important milestones in my research philosophy. At this stage I realized that Ph.D. is just a status that allows to start own quest for scientific romance based on the curiosity and the dream.

I think that the science is not just a tool to meet our desires for material goods but a beautiful philosophy of human beings, which elevates our consciousness and happiness.

I am currently enjoying my own research project in order to investigate the general mechanism of the novel electrochemical pathways for direct and selective oxidation of polysaccharide with solid and flexible support from reliable national and international colleagues in the group of Prof. Ilkka Kilpeläinen and Dos. Alistair W. T. King at the Department of Chemistry. I am satisfied and honoured to work in this research group because this lab focus on basic scientific research, with its own strong expertise in research fields such as structural chemistry.

Since my curiosity was sparked by just one aspect in the natural science world, I have learned a lot and grown through the research activity. I believe that all the experiences foster me to be a better researcher through unexpected circumstances and cultural background. I think that the science is not just a tool to meet our desires for material goods but a beautiful philosophy of human beings, which elevates our consciousness and happiness. I hope I will be able to contribute to sharing the scientific romance with as many people as possible through my research quest.

Orginally published @Chemistry News.