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Won Special Award in Student Category, Advanced Technology Award
Love of science brings innovation to medicine

Aya Kishimoto
(2nd Year, Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering)

The "Advanced Technology Award" recognizes science and engineering students as well as young researchers at companies and research institutes who have made excellent R&D achievements. In the 26th Award, Aya Kishimoto in 2nd year (then 1st year) at the Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering won the Special Award in the Student Category for her thesis, "Development of new three-dimensional position detector for higher resolution of PET equipment." Though many of the winners of this award have been students in doctoral courses, Aya made a great achievement of winning the award in the 1st year of her master course.

At the award-giving ceremony of the Advanced Technology Award. With Associate Professor Jun Kataoka who gave guidance on thesis writing.

Aya became interested in science because of a physics teacher in high school impressed her. "It was an ordinary physics class, but I could feel his pure 'love of science.' Every time I attended the class, I really liked his commitment and realized that I loved science, too."

When she was an undergraduate student at WASEDA, she belonged to the WASEDA University Aeronautics & Space Association (WASA), and devoted herself to the production of a man-powered plane with her friends, targeting winning the "Birdman Contest." Aya says, "The process to materialize our own ideas was very interesting."

When she became a 4th year student, she devoted herself more enthusiastically than ever to science under Jun Kataoka, Associate Professor studying applied radiation physics. Asked about the Associate Professor, she answers, "He is a very serious professor about research. I sometimes feel he is very strict because of this, but I often think that he really loves science (laughing)." She found out the ideal attitude of a researcher from him who seriously faced science like her physics teacher in high school. Later on, to further research into her own research theme, she entered Graduate School, continuing to explore radiation.

In 1st year of graduate school, she developed a "new three-dimensional position detector" to realize higher resolution of PET (positron emission tomography), a diagnostic imaging method for cancer. Her development brought a ray of hope to the future of Japan where about one out of three citizens die of cancer. This also gave her an irreplaceable experience.

"In the process of applying for a patent for the technology, the people involved at the university recommended me to apply for the 'Advanced Technology Award,'" she recalls. "Though I was not confident about winning the award, I considered it was an opportunity to sum up the research I had tackled and made the application."

In June 2012, the medical contribution and novelty of the thesis Aya wrote under the guidance of Associate Professor Kataoka were highly evaluated and won the Special Award. At the award-giving ceremony with the honorable presence of Her Imperial Highness Hisako Consort to Imperial Prince Norihito, she stood together with researchers from doctoral courses and young researchers of famous companies. "I felt it was incredible to be there," Aya says. "But I finally developed confidence as a researcher."

Aya says what she is now is thanks to the joy of science learned from her high school teacher, WASA friends and Associate Professor Kataoka. When asked about her future plans, she says, "As my master course is about to finish, I want to thoroughly complete the research I have addressed. Some day in the future, I hope I can convey the joy of science to future generations." The attitude of Aya who seriously faces things and devotes all her energy might be the "power" to change medicine, society, and people in the future.

Winners of the Advanced Technology Award. Aya is second from left; back row Her Imperial Highness Hisako Consort to Imperial Prince Norihito is in the center of the front row

Aya explaining her research to Her Imperial Highness Hisako Consort to Imperial Prince Norihito

Members of the Kataoka Faculty Office. Aya is third from the right in the front row


Aya Kishimoto
(2nd Year, Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering)

Born in Tokyo. Graduated from Kyoritsu Girls' High School. 2nd year, Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering. Her recent favorite movie is Kokuriko-Zaka kara. "The other day, I walked from WASEDA to TOKYO SKYTREE with my friends from WASA, but it was farther than I had imagined (laughing)."