Meet the Mentors: Mina Kojima
MIT, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
The Genes in Space Team is comprised of many outstanding and passionate individuals. Mina Kojima was a Genes in Space mentor last year and is excited to mentor a finalist again during this year’s competition.
Why did you decide to mentor a Genes in Space finalist again?
Being a mentor for Genes in Space was a lot of fun for me last year, because it gave me the opportunity to think about completely new scientific problems; in my graduate work I study mammalian meiosis, and my mentee’s project was about the microbiome in space! It was also really interesting to think about all the challenges related to performing a science experiment in space. Seeing how much much my student last year progressed and developed during the Genes in Space competition was also very rewarding, so I’m excited to mentor a finalist again!!
When did you realize you wanted to go into science? Did you always like it? What was your trajectory?
I had always enjoyed science but never seriously thought about pursuing a science career until my junior year of high school, when I had a really fantastic AP Biology teacher who made science super fun and exciting. That experience convinced me to major in molecular biology. As an undergraduate student, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join a laboratory and conduct my own independent research — it was there that I realized how much I enjoyed doing research and that I wanted to pursue biology research as a full-time career! I then entered graduate school at MIT right after undergrad.
Just for fun: What do you do besides science?
I like to run, bake, and eat a lot of chocolate!