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Scientist and pageant princess

When she is not busy at the lab or studying as a graduate student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Ruth Taketa (Mānoa, BS ’16) enjoys learning about and participating in cultural events.

She joined the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce Cherry Blossom Festival in Hawaiʻi—the longest running ethnic festival in the state that perpetuates Japanese culture while enriching the lives of young women in Hawaiʻi.

Taketa is a John A. Burns School of Medicine graduate research assistant with Robert Nichols, professor of cell and molecular biology, and was involved in his recent discovery of a potential new approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease.

“I rotated through this lab under Dr. Nichols because I took an undergrad neuroscience class. I was welcomed by them and they trained me and they were able to kind of guide me through to becoming a better researcher and scientist,” says Taketa.

When Taketa is not in the biochemistry lab researching neurodegenerative disorders, she's participating in cultural events. She joined the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce Cherry Blossom Festival in Hawaiʻi and became princess in their 65th annual event. She is pursuing her master’s degree in cell and molecular biology at UH Mānoa and is one of the many examples of the various talents and faces who make up UH Mānoa and its medical school.

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