I learned about the research fellowship program of the Hyogo Overseas Research Network from my former Ph.D. adviser Prof. Motonari Tsubaki last February 2018. I saw this as an opportunity to be able explore a research theme that I would like to teach my students. The purpose of my application to the program is to conduct preliminary studies on protein-stabilized metal nanomaterials. Metal nanoclusters and nanoparticles are relatively easy to synthesize using proteins as reducing and stabilizing agents.There are also a wide variety of applications for these nanomaterials. For this program,I wished to explore the possible applications of metal nanomaterials as sensors for biologically active molecules.
Even though I have experienced living in Japan for about 6 years, the one-month stint for the HORN program from June 21 to July 21, 2018, had provided me with rich and memorable experiences. I arrived in Japan in almost end of the rainy season and start of summer. The weather had been unpredictable, with very hot days and days with very strong rains similar to a typhoon. I got sick with colds several times due to the weather. However, the one-month stay had been productive in research. It was such a privilege that Prof. Tsubaki gave me access to his laboratory, reagents and equipment. I was able to conduct the experiments that I have planned, including fluorescence experiments and the transmission electron microscopy (TEM) experiments. I am also thankful to Prof. Eri Chatani for the use of the fluorescence spectrophotometer and Prof.
Yusuke Seto for the assistance in the TEM experiments. In addition to the research, I am also thankful for the opportunity to meet the students at the Tsubaki-Chatani-Kimura laboratory and speak before the Kobe University students who were set to go the University of the Philippines Los Banos for an English summer course. It was also a good experience to socialize with professors and staff of the Kobe University Graduate School of Science. Staying in Kobe for one month has been wonderful, since I get to experience the city where I did my Ph.D. studies more than 10 years ago. I was able to experience again some of my favorite places in the city such as the Kobe Meriken Park, HAT Kobe and Sannomiya. I got to meet and spend time with my old friends from the Philippines and Japan.
The stint from HORN allowed me to obtain data that are essential for further pursuing the protein-stabilized metal nanoparticles field. I plan to conduct more experiments here in the Philippines to verify these data. When I came home, I was able to share what I learned, like how to perform the experiments to my students. The one-month stay at the HORN program gave me time to do hands-on experiments and provide practical advice to my students. I plan to present the preliminary results in conferences to open it up for questions and discussions.