Message from Dr. Tanima Biswas

Please give a short introduction about yourself.

Hello this is Tanima Biswas, PhD an alumnus from Waseda University (the batch of 2016). I have pursued my doctoral degree on medicinal chemistry from the Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering and currently pursuing my Post Doctoral research at Kumamoto University. I am an Indian national, originating from a small town called Berhampore at the bank of river Ganges in the state of West Bengal. I have received my Master of Science degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad on 2012 and immediately joined Waseda University to pursue my doctoral study as a JICA FRIENDSHIP scholarship holder.

Please give a simple description of your work at your workplace / laboratory.

After graduating from Waseda University, I have joined Kumamoto University, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science with Prof. OTSUKA, Masami as a Post Doctoral Fellow. My work here is medicinal chemistry oriented which can be generalized as the synthesis of biologically important small molecules. Here I am extending my PhD project, i.e. the study of synthetic analogues of Vitamin D3, as well I am concentrating on the amino acid chemistry. For example a large portion of my research work are dedicated for the synthesis of derivatives of L-Carnosine which is considered to be the main physiological defense against toxic secondary metabolite of lipid peroxidation (HNE) by preventing HNE induced protein cross linking.

What attracted you to choose Kumamoto University as a place to pursue your career?

After completing my doctoral study I wanted to extend my future research in the field of medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical science, to gain more interdisciplinary experience beside the hardcore synthetic chemistry experience. I was looking for a laboratory where the synthetic organic chemistry and complementary biochemistry research are carried out simultaneously. The Kumamoto University, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science is holding high reputation for medicinal chemistry research in Japan and Prof. OTSUKA’s laboratory happened to deal with both synthetic organic chemistry and biochemistry hand in hand, as I was looking for. Hence I have decided to join Prof. OTSUKA’s laboratory.
For the first time I had gone through Prof. OTSUKA’s profile at Kumamoto University’s web page and once I got interested about his research work, I have started digging into his research area and finally ended up writing him a mail as a research aspirant. Later during his visit in Tokyo I got an opportunity to meet him in person and had a detailed discussion about my PhD works as well as about the projects that he was thinking of offering me.
The result that I had obtained from my PhD study regarding 24,24-difluoro-19-norvitamin D3 seemed to be particularly interesting to Prof. OTSUKA to extend further study in that field. My four-year’s experience of living and research in Japan and above all a degree from Waseda University has certainly made me more eligible for this position. Moreover the research training and work culture that I have inherited from my PhD laboratory had also made my CV attractive to Prof. OTSUKA to offer me my current position. It is also a matter of fact that I had made my mind to spend a few more years in Japan during my PhD, therefore all together the above offer seemed to me quite handsome to pursue my postdoctoral research.

How do you like life in Japan and Japanese culture?

Japanese society is overall very hard working and disciplined, the fruits of which is reflected everywhere inside and outside of the workplace. The whole country goes along with the clock, which is highly appreciable, and something worth to practice in every person’s life. I have felt that the traditional Japanese culture is strongly embedded in the heart of Japanese people, which make them very polite and welcoming for foreigners. Being an Indian I share many cultural and social values with Japanese people, which really makes me feel more at home. Last but not least in spite of having all modern day’s fun and excitement Japan is still peaceful, beautiful, calm and quite, excellent to live few years of academic life or longer. I believe its worth to spend some free time during our tight academic schedule to explore and enjoy the extravagance of Japan’s crude nature and culture.

      

                   Please give a message to students or researchers in your home country who may be thinking about studying in Japan?

                   If you are looking for an abroad destination to peruse your higher study I would definitely suggest Japan. Many of us are still ambiguous
                   about the language and cultural problems that might be faced, but with my four years’ experience and more in Japan I can say in most of
                   the international universities language is not at all a bar and you can happily conclude your stay and study by only speaking English. It is
                   needless to say about the quality of education and research that can be experienced in Japan; more over here the laboratory members
                   are helpful which is good to do teamwork. A hard earned degree from Japan can be something truly precious in the future path of your
                   career. So here you go, come to Japan experience the new culture and work pattern and earn your degree to feel the difference.