Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University

A day for Aya Yoshimura (Master's Program)

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Arriving at school

On the Hokkaido University campus, there are only a few people coming and going. I breathe in the scent of dark green and start my day of work and research. While viewing the flowers in the front yard of the library at the School of Medicine, I go to the Department of Public Health to attend a lab seminar.

Studying at Hokkaido University had been my dream since I was in high school. I graduated from the College of Medical Technology, Hokkaido University (today’s Faculty of Health Sciences). While working as a medical technologist at the Health Care Center, where health consultations are provided for students and employees of Hokkaido University, I have been engaged in research targeted at obese students, including a project funded by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKEN) entitled, Association of Obesity-related Complications with Lymphocyte Subsets in University Students.


Presentation at the seminar

At a journal club, I am commenting on a paper about a method of measuring sedentary time. At the department, a lab seminar is held once a week from 7:30 in the morning (or 18:15). Graduate students take turns handling a research conference, where students present their research, and a journal club, where students introduce a paper they have chosen.

A lab seminar is a valuable opportunity where students can receive questions and comments, and get feedback on their research. Members are professionals in various fields, so when I have a problem with research, I can receive advice from different perspectives.

Interaction with a variety of members has broadened my point of view.


Attendance at the Health Care Center in Hokkaido University

I leave the class near the end of the lab seminar, and head for my place of work near the School of Medicine. At the laboratory of the Health Care Center, I collect blood from people who are being studied, look after the health of students and analyze data. I entered the graduate school because I wanted to learn techniques to write a paper based on a presentation at an academic conference. I participated in an explanatory meeting of the Master of Public Health (MPH) in 2016 to learn the annual schedule and information on required credits. The fact that students can receive lectures at night and at weekends while having a job was the decisive factor in taking entrance exams for MPH.


At the professor’s office

After finishing working at 17:00, I go back to the Department of Public Health. I report on the progress of my research to Professor Akiko Tamakoshi and receive instructions on the direction of my research and data analysis.

My research theme is sedentary behavior and body composition. I got involved in research on obesity at work, and became interested in the theme, because I myself spend much time seated and thought sedentary behavior may be related to physical conditions and body composition. I have received data from Professor Tamakoshi that was collected in the epidemiological field study referred to as the DOSANCO Health Study, which was jointly conducted by Suttu Town and Hokkaido University, and have begun data analysis.



I am reading an academic book of statistics to reconfirm the method of data analysis.

So far, I have learned a process for conducting an epidemiological study: writing a search formula to search previous studies, reading previous articles and preparing for data analysis. Now in my second year, while receiving instructions from professors, I am proceeding with data analysis and striving to write a paper.

Even now, I share research ideas and worries with 10 members who entered MPH in the same year as I did. We developed academically through friendly competition in classes for a year and now belong to four departments including the Department of Public Health. You can balance work and learning when you obtain an understanding of people around you and when you keep yourself in good shape. I’m thinking what I can do to reduce sedentary behavior in my private life.

(Interviewed in June 2018)
Note: Cooperation was obtained from the Health Care Center in Hokkaido University

Webpage of the Department of Public Health which this graduate school student belonged to