Dr. Masako Narita, The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
Dr. Masako Narita
The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge
“No experience wasted: Networking and mingling with people from around the world provides spark for innovation”
Dr. Masako Narita graduated from Osaka University’s Faculty of Medicine and completed a PhD course at the Graduate School of Medicine in 2003. After working at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the United States, she is now a researcher at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK-CI), University of Cambridge.
Enlightening encounters in her travels
As an undergraduate student, Dr. Narita visited countries like India, Thailand, and Inner Mongolia, encountering various peoples and cultures. Even after becoming a doctor, she wanted to continue to interact with and, if possible, help people around the world.
Dedicated to research for ‘gentle’ cancer treatment and anti-aging
In 2006, she moved to the UK from the US when her husband, Dr. Masashi Narita, established his own laboratory at CRUK-CI. Her research focuses on cellular senescence in cancer and aging, and through its control, she hopes to contribute to developing anti-aging and ‘gentle’ cancer treatments.
As the laboratory grows, Dr. Narita has also become involved in its management, providing guidance for students and young researchers and giving laboratory tours to donors and volunteers.
Learning from differences between Japan and the UK
Dr. Narita appreciates the punctuality and convenience of Japan. The country’s beauty is immeasurable, and its scientific achievements have also developed and matured. While the UK is not always as convenient, its people accommodate foreigners and provide a good environment for those working there, particularly in academia. Academic professionals in the UK are often PhD holders and fill a variety of positions, some of which are not even found in Japan. Such a system for recruiting PhD holders for these positions might be well-suited for Japanese society.
Art brings bread – hints for life after graduation
Dr. Narita believes that no experience is ever wasted. Like the expression “art brings bread,” even things like club activities, volunteer work, and personal hobbies can provide new networks and innovative ideas.
“If you want to go overseas, go whenever and wherever you want. I’ve seen many students come to the UK over the summer or through university-organized programmes and such experiences are reflected in their career development. The diligence and honesty of the Japanese people are admired around the globe, so get out there and see the world!”