2015 Fellow's Research Projects

Ek Sopheap, Cambodia

Affiliation in Home Country Faculty of Agro-Industry, Royal University of Agriculture
Job title: Vice Dean / Researcher and Member of Technical Committee 4 (TC4) of Cambodia Nation Standard Committee.
Research Themes Isolation, Characterization and Bio-control Activities of Bacillus Subtilis from in Fermented Soybean in Cambodia
Laboratory Food Hygiene Laboratory
Advisor Dr. Yasuhiro Inatsu


Food is most important basic need for all live things on earth. Therefore, all of societies, as commonly seen from developed world, are very careful on this matter for their people's health. I counted that it was very fortunate for me to have been selected as a UNU-KIRIN fellowship participant because I will have a chance to improve my expertise in this sector for helping my developing country. From my research topic, the core objective of this study is to control Gram positive pathogenic or spoilage bacteria in foods by using bacteriocin isolated from Cambodian traditional fermented soybean (SIENG). I believe that the output of the research will be useful in elucidating the bacteriocins produced by Bacillus Subtilis strains and thought to be potent food preservative which is important for Cambodian food industry. Further, this research also aims to produce considerably cheap bio-preservative to control the growth of unsuitable bacteria in some Cambodian foods by using Cambodian original fermented soybean products. Despite such research being highly qualified to accelerate Cambodian fermented food quality, it has never been extensively conducted in Cambodia, which is inspiring me to explore further during my course.

I strongly believe that after participating in the programme, I will be able to improve and lift up the production standard of fermented food in my country, specifically fermented soybean (SIENG) that is widely consumed in Cambodia. Moreover, I will also be able to introduce a new bio-preservation technique for food safety practice in Cambodia as well. To be clear on how the program would benefit me and my people, please let me introduce a little more about my social work. I am a volunteer consultant who has intensively given comments and technology recommendations to the National Standard Consultation Committee when those are needed. With this role, I have also participated in developing policies and working program of TC4 for Grain, fruit and vegetable products standards. Consequently, the new knowledge from UNU-Kirin fellowship will enable me to do more work in the near future.

Lastly, I would like to express my deep thanks to NFRI and UNU-Kirin Fellowship Programme, which established this program to build more human resources for developing countries in a purpose of serving for/improving human health. Additionally, it will be a very good and unforgettable experience for me to live in Japan with quite impressing culture, a great environment, comfortable living condition, kind and helpful people, and work with Japanese scientific experts which can help me to learn things faster. In addition, I am very joyful that I can work in Food Hygiene Laboratory of NFRI which is fully equipped for advanced analysis, especially with the modern equipment for our research. Unforgettably, thanks would be extended to Dr. Yasuhiro Inatsu, who is my advisor and Ms. Maho Hagiwara who is my coordinator and always cares about my living and studying condition, and my lab colleagues for their kind, openness, and always being available for any discussion, support, and collaboration.

Sabina Yeasmin, Bangladesh

Affiliation in Home Country Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Research Themes Development of detection methods of taxon-specific genes for eggplant
Laboratory GMO Analytical Evaluation Laboratory
Advisor Dr. Kazumi Kitta


First of all I would like to express my thanks for providing the opportunity to participate in UNU-Kirin fellowship program for the Year 2015-2016. This is not the first time I am here in Japan as I have graduated from Osaka prefecture university of Japan. So, I knew about the working and living environment, which made me eager to return here again.

This time as my research topic is "Development of detection methods of taxon-specific genes for eggplant" it will be necessary to make better use of a broader range of the world's plant genetic diversity, which provides farmers and plant breeders with options to develop, through selection and breeding, new and more productive crops.

I am privileged to have the chance of such excellent research facilities, high-quality subject expertise, available consumables, fantastic learning environment and very cordial and cooperative staff.

I am always so much whelmed with their kindness, tolerance and hospitality. I appreciate discipline and hard-working of my lab mates. I am getting used to hearing "Have a nice weekend" from my advisor on every Friday, it incredible. I am looking forward to achieving another wonderful experience of the advance research from my present lab which will help me to implement in my home institute.

Nancy Dewi Yuliana, Indonesia

Affiliation in Home Country Department of Food Science and Technology, Bogor Agricultural University
Title: Dr.
Research Themes Identification of immuno-modulatory compounds from rice brans of several varieties using metabolomics approach
Laboratory Functional Food Factor Lab
Advisor Dr. Masao Goto


Indonesia and Japan are among the world eleven biggest rice producers, thus rice brans are available abundantly in these countries. Particularly in Indonesia, rice bran is viewed as low value rice milling waste and is usually used as feed. In fact, it was reported to contain many health beneficial phytochemicals.

My proposed research aimed to investigate immuno-modulatory effects of several different varieties of Indonesian and Japanese rice brans extracts through the observation on variations of macrophage-pro-inflammatory mediators either in vitro and in vivo. There are 4 different rice brans to be studied: Japanese white rice brans, Indonesian black rice brans, Indonesian red rice brans, and Indonesia white rice brans.

An improved method to evaluate immuno-modulatory properties of food component has been developed by researchers in Laboratory of Functional Food Factor that I chose as my lab host. They also developed and validated a method to measure ORAC activity of food components. I wish to learn this advance techniques during my research period to explore functional properties of rice brans. Hopefully the results will contribute in giving scientific explanation of health beneficial properties of rice brans, thus increase its economic value.

This is my first experience to work with Japanese scientists. I am so impressed with their diligence. Particularly I feel I am so lucky to be a member in Functional Food Factor group. I found that my advisor and also other group members are very kind and helpful to assist me. In general, I am also impressed with Japanese politeness and discipline. Last but not the least, I am very fond of Japanese sweet potato and pumpkin! They taste really super!!!

Sunsanee Udomrati, Thailand

Affiliation in Home Country Institute of Food Research and Product Development, Department of Food Chemistry and Physics, Kasetsart University
Title: Researcher
Research Themes Production, physicochemical properties and stability of xylo-oligosaccharide fatty acid ester-stabilized monodisperse oil-in-water emulsions.
Laboratory Advance Food Technology Laboratory
Advisor Dr. Isao Kobayashi


I am deeply appreciative of and impressed with the UNU-KIRIN fellowship programme. I have had a great chance to investigate the effect of xylo-oligosaccharide fatty acid ester on the characteristics of oil droplets and stability of it-stabilized monodisperse O/W emulsions using microchannel emulsification and to understand the impact of xylo-oligosaccharide fatty acid ester on lipid digestion in the emulsion during in vitro gastrointestinal digestion.

Any experience in Japan has been extraordinary and eye-opening for me. I have seen and learnt a great discipline of Japanese people as well as a warm hospitality and a hard-working attitude, which explains why Japan is such an advanced country in terms of research and technology. In addition, I had a chance to study culture and innovations.

I have made a life-time friendship with friends and colleagues here and all of these are valuable memories that I will certainly bring back to Thailand. One year as a UNU-KIRIN Fellow could be leveraged in terms of knowledge and experience that I could further apply to my career at Kasetsart University. Last but not least, I would like to say many thanks for this exceptional opportunity. I will cherish every moment in Japan with other UNU-KIRIN Fellows.

Nguyen Thi Tuyet Nhung, Vietnam

Affiliation in Home Country Institute of Biotechnology (IBT)-Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST)
Research Themes Isolation, identification and characterization of some potential antiobesity Lactobacillus plantarum strains from Vietnamese fermented products
Laboratory Functionality Evaluation-National Food Research Institute
Advisor Dr. Masuko Kobori


Firstly, I would like to thank IBT-VAST, UNU, Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd., and NFRI for offering me this great opportunity. During my PhD time in Canada I wished I could have an opportunity to live and work in Japan for a while because of Japanese spirituality and work ethic. In my eyes, Japan is a nice country with the beauty of nature and people. I eventually got a chance to come here as a UNU-KIRIN fellow, and Tsukuba welcomed me with a long line of cherry blossoms in bloom.

I am now working in Functionality Evaluation Laboratory belonging to National Food Research Institute. After being here almost two months, I have found NFRI is a place anyone should experience and I am honored to be part of this Lab and organization.

NFRI is only a 3-minute walk from the Guest house where we stay comfortably, while other necessary establishments can be reached via convenient public transportation and even by bicycle.

Thanks to the convenience of NFRI in terms of equipment, I have been carrying out my interest in searching for some supplemental bacteria for type 2 diabetic patients. My advisor and my lab mates are friendly and helpful. Besides these, with other fellows, I am exploring Japanese culture and traditions by taking Japanese class, playing pingpong, tennis, shopping together and we learn from each other. We have a very good time. I am looking forward to many other enriching experiences and opportunities that lie ahead.