HF lived in many places (in the U.S.A. and Japan) growing up. He started his life in Tokyo (Japan) and mainly stayed there for 11 yrs before moving to Boston (Massachusetts, U.S.A.), where he became obsessed with the Red Sox/Celtics/Patriots/Bruins. After a short stay (1.5 yr) in Boston, he moved back to Tokyo for 3 yrs of junior high school and six months of high school. It took him some efforts to re-adjust to Japan, and right when he became comfortable with the culture again he moved to St. Louis (Missouri, U.S.A.), where he spent his critical teenage years as a midwesterner. After finishing his interesting high school years, he moved to Boston again to attend Tufts University to study international politics. He changed his mind during his undergraduate and decided to study chemistry. After completing his chemistry degree, he returned to Japan to attend graduate school at the University of Tokyo, where he studied biochemistry and structural biology of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors and other GPCRs with Drs. Haga (primary advisor), Toyoshima (electron microscopy), and Yokoyama (NMR). There were many intriguing studies related to NMDA receptors at the University of Tokyo at the time, which played a significant role in shaping HF’s research interests. He did his postdoctoral study with Dr. Gouaux, first at Columbia University in New York and later at Vollum Institute in Portland (Oregon, U.S.A.) where he was given ample research opportunities and met wonderful colleagues. After this fascinating postdoctoral experience, HF became a PI at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in late 2006. Finally, in 2014-2015, he did his sabbatical study with Dr. Grigorieff at Janelia Research Campus/HHMI in the Washington D.C. area to interact and re-learn science from his group.
As evident from the above, HF has been exposed to many different environments and exciting people with diverse perspectives, which likely formulated his open-mindedness. The life of HF has constantly been adjusting to different cultures, people, and schools of thought while maintaining his core beliefs. HF values diversities and inclusiveness in every aspect of life and wants to positively influence the people he interacts with using his own diverse experiences as he continues with his long-standing journey to master his own life.
The brief list of academic institutes HF spent time in (click for more info):
-Futaba School (Kindergarten in Tokyo, Japan – no longer exists)
-Kanai School (Elementary school in Tokyo, Japan)
-Lawrence School (Elementary school in Boston, MA)
-Toin Junior/Senior High School (Yokohama, Japan)
–MICDS (High School in St. Louis, MO)
-Tufts University (1992-1995 B.S. Chemistry, also studied International Politics, Boston, MA)
-The University of Tokyo (1996-2001 Ph.D. Biochemistry/Biophysics, Haga lab, Tokyo, Japan)
-Columbia University (2001-2005 Postdoc., Gouaux lab, New York)
-Vollum Institute/OHSU (2005-2006 Postdoc., Gouaux lab, Portland, Oregon)
-Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Assistant-Associate-Full Professor, 2006 – present)
-Janelia Research Campus/HHMI (Visiting Scientist: 2014- 2015 Grigorieff lab, Ashburn, Virginia)
Scientific interests: Chemical and structural dissection of cellular signaling. Mapping compound binding sites in receptors. Protein engineering. Neurochemistry. Neurological diseases and disorders.
Other interests: ‘Watching’ American and European football games.