Science News

Lecture on Epigenome by Dr Aki Minoda (RIKEN)

A feeling of excitement had been building up for some time within the Science Department due to the fact that with the state of emergency being lifted, we would be able to once again host a lecture by a world-class researcher for the benefit of our IB students. Our guest this time was Dr Aki Minoda, Team Leader of the Laboratory for Cellular Epigenomics at RIKEN’s Center for Integrative Medical Sciences.

A graduate of University College London, Dr Minoda did her PhD at the prestigious Cancer Research UK in London. She went on to do a postdoc at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California, and eventually came back to work in Japan in 2013 as a Unit Leader at RIKEN's Center for Life Science Technologies.

Dr Minoda specializes in the relatively recent field of single cell transcriptomics (study of gene expression at the single cell resolution) and single cell epigenomics (study of chromatin landscape, which affects the functioning of a cell without changing its genetic code). Her work focuses specifically on the mechanisms behind aging, and she is one of the leading scientists behind the technologies that allow the study of gene expression at the level of a single cell.

A long time supporter of the teaching of life sciences in our school, Dr Minoda has welcomed us at RIKEN for several guided tours, and she also hosted three of our IB students in her lab during summer placements.

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Dr Minoda giving a tour of the RIKEN facilities to our students in 2019

More recently, she offered our students a chance to take part in RIKEN’s Open Day celebration by organizing interviews with several foreign RIKEN researchers. Note that Dr Minoda is also a full member of our community and her daughter is currently attending Saint Maur as a Grade 1 student.

It is not one, but three separate talks that Dr Minoda gave in the span of a few weeks. She gave a general talk on aging for the benefit of the Parent Support Group, and two 2-hour scientific lectures covering epigenetics as well as career advice for future research scientists for the benefit of IB Biologists in Grades 11 and 12.

Dr Minoda's lecture to the Grade 12 IB Biologists

Her numerous interactions with our students has no doubt been very inspirational for them, and judging from the many questions she received, it has hopefully triggered a number of scientific vocations.

We would like to sincerely thank Dr Minoda for her kindness and support of science at Saint Maur. More exciting related news is underway, so make sure you keep an eye out for it on this website!

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