JSPS Quarterly
No.17 2007 Summer Topics
Siries Message

Message from Former JSPS Fellow (8)

My Life as a Scientist Shifted in Japan

Dr. Hany A. El-Shemy
Dr. Hany A. El-Shemy
Professor, Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University
Chair, JSPS Alumni Association in Egypt
JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow, 1999-2001

I received my doctorate in biochemistry in 1996, after having traveled abroad on a few occasions to enhance my scientific grounding. Having learned about the JSPS postdoctoral fellowship, I felt it would offer a nice opportunity so I decided to apply. My host appreciated my joint research proposal and accepted my request to submit an application for the fellowship on my behalf. At the end of December 1998, I was pleased to receive a letter of invitation from JSPS and embarked upon what was to be a wonderful research experience with Prof. Kounosuke Fujita at Hiroshima University.

Given this opportunity, I shifted the focus of my research from biochemistry to plant molecular biology, with an aim to serving the hungry people of the world by elevating the essential amino acids in crops using a molecular approach. The fellowship gave me the chance to work energetically on this challenge with colleagues in the host laboratory. I was lucky to be accepted as an integral part of not only their scientific but also their social environment. Hence, the fellowship gave me the opportunity to make long-enduring friendships. Staying in close contact with my host, we have recently been discussing the possibility of coauthoring some articles on issues of mutual interest.

I must reiterate that it was the JSPS fellowship that vaulted me onto my present, very rewarding career path and helped me to advance my initial research in plant biotechnology. After having worked in Japan for five years, I returned to my university in Cairo, where I started to create a good school for both undergrads and postgrads in my field. Continuing to collaborate with Japanese researchers, we hope to open a scientific channel between Egypt and Japan in the near future.

Inside my university, I have displayed several posters to announce JSPS's fellowships and encourage young scientists to apply for them. I have also held some meetings with my colleagues to explain how to submit applications through a host researcher in Japan, and describe the opportunities that the fellowships offer them to advance their research activities.

Two years ago, I was asked by the director of the JSPS Research Station in Cairo to help set up an Egypt alumni association with an eye to enhancing collaboration and supporting exchange between young scientists in the two countries. As chair of the association, I have heartily recommended JSPS to support partnering initiatives by former fellows from this region.

Last but not least, I must say how very much my family, who accompanied me during my fellowship, enjoyed their stay in Japan. They still communicate with friends they made there, and look forward to a future chance to see them again.

During Dr. El-Shemy's stay in Japan as a JSPS fellow
During Dr. El-Shemy's stay in Japan as a JSPS fellow
Dr. El-Shemy with his colleagues
Dr. El-Shemy with his colleagues

To Past and Present JSPS Fellows:

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JSPS Quarterly No.20 2007