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Report on Short-term Visiting Program in Taiwan

Yohei Yamauchi:M1, Master's Program in Medical Sciences

Major: Physiological Chemistry

Accepting Laboratory: Dr.ST Ding Laboratory

Through Experiencing Visit to National Taiwan University

   For the two weeks from Aug.29 to Sept. 10,2011, I went to the National Taiwan University for a short-term visit. Thus I would like to report on the lectures and practices and on the experiments which I conducted in the laboratory at the National Taiwan University.

   The first week at the NTU, I participated in the CBT Summer Course. In this course, the lectures and the practices were conducted in a set and the The meaning of it was to learn the basic experimental techniques of biochemistry. Through this course, I learned the real time PCR, immunohistochemistry, immunity, protein purification using column and the DGGE. Learning on the experimental techniques which I am not acquainted with was something valuable, but pairing up with a Taiwanese student and conducting the experiments by communicating in English had been the most beneficial thing for me. Though I can hardly say that I speak a perfect English, I felt that speaking out without any hesitation was extremely important when communicating.

   In the second week, by pairing up, we conducted experiments in the laboratory and I conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Stone. What was surprising was that there were a number of people in this laboratory. With it being a highly free-thinking environment and that they had a huge number of members and, it seemed that even Dr.Stone himself didn't know who was the graduates, the current students and students studying abroad. And what was more surprising for me was that their stance was that of "nothing starts unless you start yourself" and this was seen in the experiments where it started with what you wanted to do. This was fresh to me because it was nothing like the Japanese laboratory where the stance is to "receive a guidance".
   The two of us were each given a different theme and conducted the experiments. My theme was to clarify the role of DHA using liver cell line and the main experimental techniques was a real time PCR and cell culture. To be honest, the results didn't come out as expected and every single day, I conducted real time PCR again and again which had been really hard for me. I think that we were the only Japanese members who had conducted PCR 12 times in four days. But because of this, we were able to discover that DHA up-regulates the expression of the molecule Arf6.

   Through this program, I strongly felt the difference between the Japanese and the Taiwanese students. First of all, the Taiwanese students were different where they expressed their opinions with confidence. I think we, the Japanese students, must learn from them. And they never see their own presentation with criticism. It is important to look at your data objectively during the experiments but once you're in a presentation, you have to have your own opinion. Otherwise, the people who are listening will not be able to understand what you want to say. Another difference was their motivations. I felt that the Taiwanese students were enjoying the experiments from their heart and that they were doing "what they wanted to do". In the case of the Japanese students, I often think that they are conducting experiments because "they have to do it" and not because "they want to do it". The reason may be that we conduct the experiments under the guidance. It is difficult for me to say which is better but the difference seemed clear.
   Lastly, I would like to show my gratitude to the teachers of both universities for giving me this valuable opportunity and the International Office and the TAs of the National Taiwan University for supporting us through the program. Thank you very much.

(From Report)


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