“The only way to climb a mountain is one step at a time.
So, let nature take its course and don’t fuss too much about the future.” 

Professor Natsuko Chiba 

Field: Cancer Biology
Hometown: Miyagi Prefecture
Hobbies: Watching movies and dramas

I’ve never been so confused in my life… I just didn’t know what to do and which path to take in my career. So, upon graduating from Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Medicine in April 1997, I felt somewhat lost and bewildered: do I focus more on clinical practice or on research… I just wasn’t sure… In the end, I came to realize that all I needed to do was to take a deep breath, step back, and just live in the ‘NOW’.

Eventually, I made my way to IDAC as a research fellow in the Clinical Oncology Department after my graduate studies. This was a perfect choice because during my 3rd year at graduate school, I performed functional analysis of leukemia-associated molecules in the immune gene control field. The goal was to analyze the functional developmental process of molecules; but in reality, it really didn’t have much to do with “cancer” as I had hoped.

Honestly, I wanted to do more research on topics such as tumor suppressor genes and the cell cycle checkpoint, so I started looking at other options. At that time, I was quite interested in studying abroad, and hereditary ovarian and breast cancer was a major theme back then. I wanted to focus on analyzing the functions of the BRCA1 and I was fortunate to secure a post under the guidance of Dr. Jeffrey Parvin at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Harvard Medical School).

I never would have had this kind of opportunity had I not taken a step back and focused on the present. Just remember, don’t think ahead too much; it’s the ‘NOW’ that’s really important in life.