The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) has decided the winners of the 3rd Brilliant Female Researchers Award (The Jun Ashida Award). The awards ceremony was held at Miraikan on November 3 (Wed), 2021.
At the awards ceremony, JST presented a trophy and certificate to each winner, and the Ashida Fund* offered one million yen as a supplementary prize to the winner of the Brilliant Female Researcher Award (The Jun Ashida Award).
*The Ashida Fund was established in 1994 by the late fashion designer Jun Ashida for the purpose of nurturing the younger generation. The Japan International Science and Technology Exchange Center (JISTEC) operates and manages the Ashida Fund on behalf of Jun Ashida Co. Ltd.
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Mathematical Sciences, The University of Tokyo
Mathematical sciences (probability theory)
Dr. Sasada uses algebra and geometric theory, which are seemingly unrelated to statistical physics and probability theory, in order to construct a new theory that explains the macroscopic parameters of systems, such as temperature and density. The macroscopic behaviors are derived from microscopic laws observed by systems, which are comprised of particles such as atoms and molecules.
Social contribution: her outreach activities include creating the Suri-Joshi website, releasing videos on probability theory, and giving lectures. She is also dedicated to fostering women in the mathematical sciences, including serving as the International Mathematical Union’s Committee for Women in Mathematics (CWM) ambassador.
Nagoya University can serve as a model for other institutions based on the concrete achievements it has made through a variety of unique initiatives, such as recruiting only female faculty members, establishing Japan’s first permanent after-school childcare center on campus in addition to its on-campus nursery schools, honoring leading female researchers, assigning research support staff to assist in balancing work and family life, and increasing the percentage of female members in the highest decision-making body of the university (Education & Research Council) to more than 20%.
In 2015, the university was the only institution in Japan selected as one of the top ten universities in the world to lead the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign. Since then, Nagoya University has continued to actively promote gender equality, making it worthy of recognition as a university “supporting brilliant female researchers.”
Assistant Professor, Institute for Advancement of Clinical and Translational Science and Department of Diagnostic Imaging and Nuclear Medicine, Kyoto University Hospital
Life science and radiology
Dr. Iima has developed a new and non-invasive diagnostic imaging method for cancer that minimizes the burden on the human body. Using diffusion-weighted MRI, her method extracts and utilizes information from various images to provide quantitative parameters (IntraVoxel Incoherent Motion) that can evaluate tissue microperfusion without the use of contrast agents. As a researcher linking clinical and basic research, she has made remarkable achievements to guide the selection of treatment methods and predict treatment effects and prognosis.
Social contribution: she helps disseminate science information globally by establishing international working groups with related fields, and promoting networking among domestic and overseas researchers. She also fosters future researchers.
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo
Dr. Kamiya is engaged in the development of various kinds of novel photo-functional probes such as fluorescent probes for innovative bioimaging. Her research is characterized by the rational design of these probes through precise functionalization of small-molecular dyes. Especially, in recent years, she has been conducting highly original research, including development of activable Raman probes for multiplexed functional imaging.
Social contribution: she is actively involved in the training of future researchers and in activities to transmit the excitement of science to the general public.