新板 窮理図解

We’ve heard that you’ve had various experiences before joining Keio University. Is that right?
      I’ve been persistently engaged in the study of the sea squirt for 15 years, but places of research have changed from one place to another. When the complete genome sequence of the sea squirt was identified, I was learning bioinformatics and evolution at the National Institute of Genetics (in Mishima City, Shizuoka Prefecture) under Professor Takashi Gojobori. I also studied at the National Institute for Basic Biology (in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture) as well as at the world’s oldest marine station in Naples, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dorn, Italy. During my postdoctoral period, I was privileged to devote myself to research activity in an unrestricted environment thanks to the support of many people (in particular, my wife). By changing venues of my pursuit, I was also able to meet many new people, learn about new experiment methods and absorb many, many things.
      When I was offered a post at Keio University, what first occurred to and worried me was the importance of responsibility for fostering the coming generation rather than the possibility of losing the freedom I had enjoyed. So I came to Keio with determination.
      About eight years have passed since I joined Keio in 2005. The fact that I have stayed here for such a long period of time means that Keio is a comfortable place to work. I can feel that Professor Kotaro Oka and other people around me have prepared such a pleasant environment for me. The Oka lab is often referred to as Oka Zoo because studies on a variety of animals are being undertaken here. It’s a truly stimulating research environment for me as a specialist of the sea squirt. At Keio University, we can obtain sufficient research funds if our applications are admitted. A system of fostering up-and-coming teaching staff is also complete here.
      If a university has an excellent teaching staff, then students can receive good education. Recently I began to consider studying overseas using the Fukuzawa Fund.

photoWe’ve heard that you recently initiated a Sweets Club together with other teachers, right?
      I have nothing special as a hobby because research activity is almost a hobby for me. To tell you the truth, however, I am a person with quite a sweet tooth. So I formed a Sweets Club together with other Keio staffs, visiting sweets shops when we have time. But recently I found myself gaining weight, so I bought a bicycle and began cycling from this April to lose weight. I like cycling because I can go anywhere I want on my own and I can enjoy various townscapes along the route. Perhaps it’s because cycling has something in common with a sea squirt larva that swims anywhere it likes by moving its tail. Young sea squirts move, seeking to find a place to adhere to, as distant from their parents as possible. In my case, destinations of cycling are sweets shops. Readers of this bulletin, please give me information about sweets shops that I can casually drop in by bicycle.

Some words from students
Student : Dr. Hotta is a person I can communicate with on equal terms. By frankly exchanging our views, I can sometimes feel that I have attained some growth. Above all, I respect Dr. Hotta’s researcher-like persistence to what he thinks is correct, and his single-minded attitude toward what attracts his attention. The only problem about him is that he comes up with one new idea after another, which sometimes overburdens us with things to do.

(Reporter & text writer: Akiko Ikeda)