Thursday, October 3, 2013

Stylish Scientists: Junko

'Stylish Scientists' is a weekly series that brings you an exclusive peek at women in science and their style.  
The motto of the 'Stylish Scientist' is: "Always look chic while making a discovery!"
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stylish scientists, junko shimadzu, science and style, fashion in academia, columbia university, japanese style, chic scientist

At what stage of science education are you?
I am starting the third year of my PhD.

Tell us about your research and your inspiration and motivation in science
I study the endocrine functions of bone. Specifically, our lab study bone, which is the latest appeared organ in vertebrates, to investigate its influence on the whole-body physiology such as glucose metabolism and male fertility. My motivation in science is that, as a geneticist, I would like to show scientifically that life consists of interdependent mechanisms written by simple codes and no organ works by itself.  I feel like old biology gave us a lot of significant basic knowledge of life, but at the same time, it’s like missing the forest for the trees. So, taking advantage of the current advanced knowledge of genetics, my motivation is to do biology by seeing the trees and find a new forest! My inspiration comes from many great scientists here at Columbia!

Your earliest fashion memory
When I was small, I started to learn baton twirling. When I performed, my instructors always did make up for me. I remember that I was excited and happy to wear makeup like adults do! Also, many costumes for performance were girly and shining, decorated with many sparkles. I always felt special when I wore a new design of the costume and was very happy to wear something I usually do not wear!

Who influenced your style?
I am not the type of person who loves to go shopping often… But fortunately, many of my friends are very fashionable and they influenced my style :). My friends know where to go shopping and I always ask them about the latest trends before I go shopping :). I’m trying to look nice like my friends!

stylish scientists, junko shimadzu, science and style, fashion in academia, columbia university, japanese style, chic scientist

How did the places where you lived influence your style choices?
I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. Like in NYC, there are many people with various styles in Tokyo. Also, there are many shops and department stores so it was easy to catch up on the latest trends. Since there is no typical style in Tokyo, I loved to wear very different styles depending on the feeling of the day :). Also, since there are clear four seasons in Tokyo, I changed the color choices of my clothes depending on the season!

How different is way of dressing in Tokyo and NYC?
I think the biggest difference between Tokyo and NYC fashion is the color. When I go to shopping in NYC, I find many clothes, bags and even cosmetics with vivid, bright and primary colors. However, I think Japanese tend not to wear clothes with primary colors.

Sometimes I can tell if people are from Japan or not based on the color of clothes. Also, heels sold here are very high compared to heels sold in Tokyo. I think that is because people often use car to go out in the states and people in Japan often walk to go out. So I recommend to buy heels in Japan if people have a chance to go because they are much more comfortable :).

Your favorite brands and places to shop
My favorite brands and places to shop are Zara, Aritzia, Jill Stuart, J.Crew, UNIQLO, Free people…etc.

Your everyday science uniform
I usually wear jeans or skirt with blouse and cardigan.  I change what I am wearing depending on the experiments of the day. If I have to spend a lot of time in mouse room, I usually tie my hair and wear flat shoes and jeans. If I have a lot of bench work, I wear skirt and heels (of course with a lab coat) :).

What do you think about dressing nicely while doing experiments?
I think it is very good to dress nicely while doing experiments. Considering safety in the lab, we do not need to be extremely fashionable. But we can look clean and neat every day. Also, I spend most of my time in the lab so that I want to wear something I like!

Any thoughts about how the general public perceives scientists and their appearance?
I think general public may still think that scientists are men and are indifferent to fashion. Indeed, when I meet with new people, some say that I do not look like a scientist because I am a girl and wear nice clothes… :(! In reality, I know that most of scientists are stylish and well-dressed. So, I am not concerned about how general public thinks about how scientists look because what scientists should be known of by society is by their findings. On the other hand, in terms of education, it is important that scientists interact with public and tell people, especially young people, that we can look nice and do cool experiments! I was one of the kids who decided to become a scientist after I met with stylish and talented women scientists :).

What are your favorite things to do/see in NYC?
I like walking around Bryant park area when I have time because my favorite pastry shop is there :). Also I love reading novels and I love to go to book stores and read books at my favorite cafe. I sometimes enjoy attending events held by Japanese student group at main campus to meet with new people! :) I used to enjoy teaching Japanese so if I can find time, I want to teach Japanese again in NYC! 

What are your recommendations to see in Japan?
Since I am from Tokyo, I recommend to go see Tokyo! J If you like fashion, there are so many shops so you will never get bored in Tokyo! Also, please try real Japanese food and sweets! :)

All photos are taken and edited by me.

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