Role Models

Graduate School of Medicine – Keiko Kowase – Instructor

Where there's a will, there's a way.

Keiko Kowase

Keiko Kowase, Instructor

General Practice Medicine/Cardiovascular Medicine


Graduated from Gunma University, School of Medicine. Completed medical residency at Gunma University, Department of Medicine and Biological Science, and at Takasaki National Hospital (former name). Enrolled in graduate doctoral program at Gunma University, Department of Medicine and Biological Science (formerly Second Department of Internal Medicine). After graduation, served as doctor of cardiovascular internal medicine at Gunma Chuo General Hospital (former name), Saiseikai Maebashi Hospital, and elsewhere. Held postdoc position at the University of Virginia, Heart and Vascular Center. After returning to Japan, assumed current post at Gunma University Hospital, Department of General Medicine (Graduate School of Medicine, General Practice Medicine).

Q1: Could you briefly describe your research?

A1: The aim of my research is to understand the components of arteriosclerosis, which can lead to angina and myocardial infarction. Recently, I have also been conducting research focused on understanding the mechanisms that cause vascular calcification in arteriosclerosis, and the pathogenic mechanisms of pulmonary hypertension. I am applying molecular biology techniques in my research.

Q2: What do you find most appealing about research?

A2: I first had a sense of accomplishment when the results of experiments supported my initial hypothesis. It made me really happy. I also felt heartened at conference presentations, when I could have discussions with other researchers who showed interest in my work. I felt it gave meaning to my research.

Q3: What inspired you to pursue a career in research?

A3: When I was doing my residency, I was in charge of many patients who were suffering from heart disease. Remarkable progress had been made in catheter-based treatments, but there were so many people then who were suffering from coronary restenosis (recurrent narrowing of blood vessels). I thought it would be helpful to pursue basic research that could play a role in the prevention of vascular calcification and the development of treatments, so I decided to go on to graduate school. I hope that my research can play even a small role in the development of medical science.

Q4: What makes you feel glad to be a researcher?

A4: Through my research, I have changed how I view the components and treatment of disease. At the same time, I have been able to meet many people and broaden my view of the world.

Q5: How do you balance your research with your private life?

A5: While I am working, I am completely focused on work. On my way home, I change my mindset and return to my personal life. In my personal life, I do not think of work. Also, I always try to stay optimistic, and I never cut my sleep time because my health is most important. I also rely on other people.

Q6: Do you have a book that changed your life, or any books that you have written?

A6: "Silence" by Shusaku Endo.

Q7: What are your hobbies?

A7: I used to play piano, and recently I have become a classical music enthusiast. It is my dream to take my family to concerts when my children are older.

Q8: Where has been your favorite place to travel?

A8: Assisi, Italy. I was struck by the sacred atmosphere of the town.

My Career Path & Life Events

Graduated university

Medical residency

Married and entered graduate school
(doctoral program)

After graduation, served as doctor of cardiovascular internal medicine at municipal hospitals

Postdoc at University of Virginia

Returned to Japan

Assumed post at Gunma University Hospital