Kimiko earned her PhD in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology with an NIH Big Data to Knowledge Certificate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2020. Under the mentorship of Henrik Dohlman and Timothy Elston, her research identified the origin and targets of feedback loops regulating yeast MAPK phosphorylation in response to osmotic stress by integrating machine learning, ODE systems modeling, and experimental techniques. Prior to her doctoral work, Kimiko earned her BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Johns Hopkins University in 2015. During that time, her research endeavors investigated a variety of signaling mechanisms in yeast, Arabidopsis, and mice, inspiring her to understand signaling at a systems-level.
What is your role at Applied BioMath?
“I’m a Senior Scientist, Mathematical Modeler. I’m usually working on two or so projects at a time, so that could be doing model-fitting or building a model, running analyses with the model, and meeting with our group to talk about ways to either move forward in the project or how we want to communicate certain ideas with the client.”
What do you love most about working here?
“I honestly love the people. Everyone is so smart, approachable, and willing to take the time to help you with any problem. Everyone approaches conversations with such positivity and with a best intentions kind of manner. It’s a very supportive environment that allows you to grow into the field.”
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
“I find it most rewarding when we show our modeling results to our clients and our work excites them and/or explains something that’s unintuitive. It’s really exciting to engage in those types of conversations and really show how powerful modeling is as a tool in the pharma space.”
What was your focus in your academics?
“I come from a completely wet lab background. I was a molecular biologist, and I did a bunch of different molecular research, usually involving signaling systems. Eventually I became interested in being able to predict what my experiments would turn out to be without having to do them, so I went to grad school to learn how to do this type of modeling and simulation work.”
What made you get into the field of life sciences?
“I was in love with the House TV series in high school. I thought it was super cool how the main character was this expert that people came to when they had no idea what was happening with their patients. It made me want to become a doctor. Eventually I transitioned out of the doctor pathway when I realized that I’m not a huge fan of blood, but the show is what got me into life sciences.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“I like being outdoors. My main hobby is rock climbing. I’m obsessed with it.”
Do you have a motto or a personal mantra that you live by?
"Challenge yourself every day."
If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
“I really want to go to the Himalayas. I haven’t been anywhere in Asia except for Japan, so I want to travel everywhere in between there and east of France.”
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
“I know how to unicycle. It was part of our PE curriculum at my elementary school.”
What inspires you every day?
“My husband inspires me. He is supportive of my goals, and we are very good at functioning as a team. He is also in biotech, does his job incredibly well, and can navigate career trajectories very well too. We create this positive feedback loop that propels us forward in life.”