Robert Oda has been awarded the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship for his research using Raman spectroscopy to potentially identify markers of cancer in cells and tissue based on their molecular “fingerprint.” Oda is a graduate student in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
“If successful, the research provides a potential avenue to diagnose and identify cancers in patients earlier and could be adapted for use inside a surgery room,” said Oda.
Oda’s research is supervised by John A. Burns School of Medicine faculty members including Bruce Shiramizu of the Hawaiʻi Center for AIDS and the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology.
The Akihito scholarship will allow Oda to work with Professor Yasuyuki Ozeki at the University of Tokyo later this year.
Oda, who hopes to become a professor in his field, says he loves to teach. He loves to make sense of complicated problems, too.
“I love puzzles, and research is a giant puzzle,” said Oda. “There are a million questions to answer, but I get excited knowing that I can potentially answer one of them.”
More about the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship
The Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship was established in 1959 to commemorate the wedding of then Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko. When Akihito ascended to the throne in 1989 to become emperor, the name was retained, according to his wishes. Very few scholarships hold the imperial name.
Today the scholarship is run by the Japan-America Society of Hawaiʻi to promote better understanding between Japan and Hawaiʻi. It is awarded to one graduate student from Hawaiʻi and one graduate student from Japan each year.
—By Tina Shelton