#1 Tell us about yourself…
Hello, my name is Arata, a 25-year-old Ph.D. student at Dr. Yoav Shaul's lab. I arrived from my home country, Japan, to this country at the age of 18 to study Hebrew for two years, and then completed a bachelor's degree here in the Bio-medical sciences, faculty of medicine. Then I was admitted to the M.Sc.-Ph.D. integrated program.
I like to meet new people to widen my perspective. So, I'm practicing Hebrew so that I can have deeper conversations. Recently, I started learning Arabic for the same reason, and at the moment I can successfully introduce myself in Arabic "اسمي اراتا، تشرفنا :)"
In my free time, I love to play the accordion. I used to play at Hadassah hospital wards for patients till the beginning of the pandemic. So, I am a serious researcher by day and a fun musician by night.
#2 Why have you chosen to study for a Ph.D. at this university?
I have several reasons for choosing the Ph.D. program here.
First and foremost is the fact that Israel is an innovation powerhouse. I believe that there is a strong will to make discoveries that have not been achieved yet, and the Hebrew University is considered one of the top universities here. Thankfully, the Hebrew University has some courses for innovation and startups.
Another reason is that I joined Yoav Shaul's lab while I was in my first degree, where I learned a lot of scientific techniques and strategies. In this lab, I was exposed to an interesting research subject that motivated me to choose it for my Ph.D. studies. Additionally, Dr. Shaul's personality and team support made it easy for me to decide to stay.
#3 Tell us about your lab and research project...
The best thing I love about our lab is the friendly and fun atmosphere, which makes it enjoyable to be in the lab! Our lab team (family) is multi-cultural, which means that all the time we have something interesting to discuss, not only about science but about life as well.
Our lab studies cancer cell aggressiveness. We seek to understand what metabolic changes occur within the cell to make enough energy and to cope with the continuous and uncontrolled division that takes place during cancer progression. We believe that revealing unknown roles of metabolic enzymes or their products will give us a better insight to treat cancer. Personally, I am investigating one of these metabolic products "metabolites" in breast cancer. Moreover, using only the right software on my computer, and my programming skills I can analyze patients' data to reveal metabolic candidates which can be implicated in cancer aggressiveness. Then, I use the scientific methods to verify their candidates in cell and mice models.
#4 What are your career goals? How does studying here help you achieve those goals?
This is the hardest question to ask a Ph.D. student. What's next? As I am interested in joining a successful medical startup as it seems so trendy here, on the other hand, I believe I can help younger researchers in the future by working in academia.
#best dish in Jerusalem?
I cannot decide one… I love shawarma, sabich, dolma (dawali دوالي ), and musakhan (مسخن)!!