Interview with friends

R & D Center
Director of Lifescience Research Institute
Ayaka Nakajima

A big adventure of a supplement girl because of a small meal.
Awakened to the effort to "not sick"
Until joining Euglena

"I used to eat less when I was a kid, so I was interested in supplements to supplement my nutrition."
While saying that, Nakajima smiles, "I'm eating rice now." Even as a child, he seemed to be more interested in how to stay healthy and how his body works, rather than trying to eat less.
"I can't eat a lot, so I thought it was important to eat at that time. For example, I was looking forward to seeing health foods and drinks I didn't know about on TV." .. Partly because of my own experience, when I entered university, I entered the Department of Biological Engineering to study health, especially fields that are useful in the treatment of illness. He was involved in research that would contribute to cancer treatment. Meanwhile, the subject of interest began to shift from "treatment" to "non-illness."
"If you are involved in medical treatment or medicine, you will surely sympathize with it, but our original goal is to enable people to live in good health and happiness, so it is the same as treatment. I started to feel that it was important not to get sick, that is, not to get sick. "

Just when he started to think so Euglena, the president of the company, and he sympathized with him a lot.
"I was intuitively surprised (laughs). Since I was a kid, I've been thinking about foods that are good for the body and an efficient source of nutrition every day. I remember thinking, "What I'm saying is the same idea as I am." (Laughs) "

At first, he was intuition, but after watching the program, he repeatedly ruminated Izumo's claim, and as a result, his intuition turned into conviction.
"When approaching people and society through living things, I think there are two ideals to pursue. One is about health and the other is about the environment. One that specializes in either. Yes, but it's difficult to achieve both with one organism. When you realize that Euglena is a hybrid organism that can achieve both, you start to get fidgety. "

The valuable value of Euglena that Euglena has been transmitting since its inception. Nakajima, who wanted to help people and society with living things, was deeply moved by the value of Euglena. Nakajima thought, "I want to do an internship at Euglena," and immediately searched for Euglena on the Internet, but Euglena did not announce the recruitment of internships.
"I seem to be an activist (laughs), so I couldn't stand it and called Euglena in Tokyo directly from my hometown and said,'I want to intern.'"

At that time, Euglena had about 20 employees, and at most 10 people were in research positions, so I did not expect to accept internship students. However, accepting Nakajima's enthusiasm, Nakajima decided to work as an intern. Nakajima says that he "had a very good experience" through the internship.
“It was a particularly good experience in three respects. One is that I was able to participate in the real work process while being a student. I was able to be present at the school, and I was able to think about the prescription and be involved in the process leading to a prototype for liver protection. The second is to feel how the researched content will reach the customer. I was able to do it. I learned a lot about the process of actually turning the research into a product and delivering it to customers. And third, I learned about the charm of Midorimushi and fell in love with Midorimushi. That is. "

Anyone can challenge anything
What is important
Love and respect for humans and euglena

Around 2012, when Nakajima joined the company, there were dozens of people at Euglena. Like many fast-growing ventures, everyone worked in multiple roles. Nakajima, who was hired as a researcher, seems to have gained various experiences as an all-rounder.
"Our research is roughly divided into five. One is related to production. The other is responsible for breeding, that is, breeding such as Euglena. The third is possible as energy, including biofuel. Pursuing sexuality. The fourth is the functional research that I am currently in charge of, and the research that connects it to products that can be put into the body as food or beverage or applied as cosmetics. And the fifth is unknown. I am pursuing the possibilities of, but when I joined the company, I was able to be involved in almost everything. "

For Nakajima, who is curious, the experience in each field seemed to be fun, but in addition, by experiencing a wide range of research themes in various fields, he became aware of things that seemed to be unrelated at first glance. It was possible to feel that it would be useful to bring it from an early stage.
"Euglena the first place is that there are many unknown things and new values and possibilities are always born. What I learned from some research , It is often used for research in other fields. Also, I feel that it is easy to see that research activities lead to corporate activities. For example, the functions I am currently involved in. The data revealed in the sexual research can be used for marketing and sales of food and cosmetics. Not limited to research jobs, no matter what department you are in or what kind of work you experience, it will always be somewhere else. It will be utilized in the future and will lead to new possibilities. I hope that those who will join us will feel this excitement. "

When it comes to companies that are growing in biotechnology, attention is focused on their high level of expertise. However, according to Nakajima, this is a group that creates value through teamwork that is driven by love for its own products centered on Euglena, the desire to help people and society, and respect. For that reason, "open innovation that goes beyond the premise of science and humanities is unfolding."
"I call myself an'outing researcher'(laughs). I think it's important to go out and convey what you've learned and data from your research to other teams and departments in an easy-to-understand and appropriate manner. It is rewarding to let customers and many people know the charm of Euglena by expressing the feelings and abilities of Euglena who cannot speak. "

Some have outstanding expertise, while others make use of their extensive experience as an all-rounder. Nakajima says, "Let's open the door to new possibilities together" if you sympathize with the fact that such an individual group is working as a team.

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