Natasha Y. S. Kawata
I graduated from the University of São Paulo, Brazil as a speech-language pathologist. In 2005, I was granted a Nippon Zaidan Scholarship and had the opportunity to come to Japan and enroll in the University of Tohoku. I joined the master’s program in neuroscience, hoping to understand more about neurobiological mechanisms in the human brain and explore my interest in improve auditory and cognitive function in the field for further studies. Around the end of my masters’ track, I realized that my most research interest was the auditory system since experiences let me remember clinical experiences when studying speech-language pathology in Brazil. Eventually, my firm will to study more about the human brain, especially in the auditory cortex, led me to pursue a Ph.D. in Japan! So, this was where I became a Ph.D. student at the University of Tohoku, but it was challenging to pursue a Ph.D. degree in a foreign country. After I became a Ph.D. student in Prof. Ryuta Kawashima’s laboratory, I had to do many works on a computer because the laboratory mainly used MRI as a research tool that requires analyzing signal processing skills, and also reading a lot of scientific literature. My dissertation was about investigating how combining multiple interventional trainings affects the auditory and cognitive functions in older adults to improve their behavioral performances and brain plasticity. Then, I finally almost obtain the Ph.D. degree soon!
From May 2021, many thanks to Prof. Akemi Tomoda and the university president, I have suddenly jumped into here, the Research Center for Child Mental Development, the University of Fukui as a specially appointed assistant professor. As you all know, the University of Fukui is located away from the center of Fukui City. My colleagues in my laboratory repeatedly told me that it heavily snows in the winter and you should better drive to come instead of the train. It looks pretty different from Brazil. Although two months have already passed since arriving in Fukui, I have not yet had the opportunity to learn much about the city or taste the local cuisine, but I hope to look around soon.
Again, I am very grateful to the Research Center for Child Mental Development, University of Fukui, and its staff for introducing me to the field and, through collaboration, helping to broaden my background in neuroimaging and helping me to improve my knowledge of the Japanese language. I am very excited and confident that this fruitful experience will allow me to smoothly and productively integrate myself into the daily lifestyle of working Japanese scientific professionals.
Thank you so much!