Dr. Sakai (from the 1st Cohort of HGRs) went to France on a research trip

Assistant Professor Sakai (Proteo-Science Center, Ehime University), from the 1st Cohort of HGRs, went on a research trip to France (Institut Pasteur and Institut Cochin) from June 20 – July 1, 2022.

Research Exchange Report

The Institut Pasteur is a private, non-profit foundation in Paris, France. Its mission is to help prevent and treat diseases, mainly those of an infectious origin, through research, teaching, and public health initiatives (https://www.pasteur.fr). I chose to stay as a visiting scientist at Pasteur because I used to work as a postdoc in Prof. Shahragim Tajbakhsh's lab, who has a technique, called RNAscope, in muscle sections, which I would like to learn during this stay.

Institut Cochin is one of the largest academic biomedical research centers located in Paris, France. The Institute's main research axes are cancer, immunology, endocrinology-metabolism, microbiology and genetic and cellular plasticity (https://institutcochin.fr). I also stayed at Cochin in Dr. Pascal Maire’s lab to learn RNAscope in muscle fibers because he and his team develop this technique on muscle fibers.

Making frozen sections with
cryostat at Pasteur

During my stay in Pasteur, I was able to learn the very details of RNAscope in muscle frozen sections. I particularly found that RNAscope worked very well even in unfixed frozen muscle samples. I also found that immunostaining after RNAscope worked without any problems.

I was also able to learn the RNAscope in isolated muscle fibers in Cochin. Although I found the isolation of muscle fibers was very challenging and required training, RNAscope itself worked beautifully on muscle fibers.

During my stay in Paris, I got to know three researchers in their labs. They are experts in RNAscope and offered to consult with me anytime I need help in this technology. I believe that these contacts will have a positive influence on my future research.

A poster at Pasteur with an image of myself on it

I plan to use RNAscope in my project to see the genes I am interested in. I have already started to set up the experiments in my lab to allow RNAscope work with my own hands. I am sure that my experience in France will allow me to do experiments that I could not do before and will propel my research forward. In conclusion, my stay was crucial in my career development as a scientist.

Finally I thank HIRAKU-Global Program for supporting this stay.


Hiroshi SAKAI, Assistant Professor,
Proteo-Science Center, Ehime University