5.5 Years in a Balloon

Jon K. Akutagawa
PhD Student
Department of Biomolecular Engineering
University of California, Santa Cruz

    Southern California is my home, but somehow I ended up getting stuck in the northern part of the state. I studied bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. I worked at an immunotherapy startup immediately after graduation, focusing on improving downstream process development protocols. UCSF was the next stop; there I studied the signaling networks of pediatric leukemias before returning to academia.

Not-so-academic interests

  • I spend way too much time thinking about athletics. I support the Los Angeles Lakers, California Golden Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Galaxy, and Arsenal Football Club.
  • Haven't gone outside much since I started graduate school, but I do enjoy rock climbing. Shoutout to my old gym.
  • Red River
    Fig. 1 - Cleaning up at Fortress Wall, Red River Gorge, Kentucky.
  • Board games are fun, particularly long strategic ones. I haven't had much time to play recently, but my current choice is Caverna. It's a farming simulation game starring cave dwarves. I am also looking for a copy of Acquire, a much better hotel tycoon game than Monopoly (which is still quite entertaining).
  • Emilia's makes the best pizza in the Bay Area. Golden Boy is pretty great too. Bantam and Mentone are my two favorite Santa Cruz spots (albeit a bit pricey).