Momoko Ueda

PhD Researcher, Simon Fraser University

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Follow your passion. Follow your dream. You will get there with hard work, dedication and love.

What do you do?

I am a PhD researcher in forensic stable isotopes, which is an emerging field in forensic sciences. I study stable isotopes in human tissues to gain an understanding of geographical differences in isotopic compositions that are observed across the globe, and more specifically across Canada. This information can be useful in forensic cases where human remains are found without identification, and when the more conventional methods such as DNA or fingerprint analysis may not useful, by providing information on where the individual may have grown up or lived prior to death.

Why did you choose this field?

My high school basketball coach was a forensic DNA analyst and she was my inspiration for pursuing work in the forensics field. During my undergraduate studies, I realized that I was not so passionate about genetics but became intrigued in the application of stable isotope analysis to assist in the identification of unknown human remains and saw great value in being able to help bring the bodies back to their loved ones.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I had never considered pursing graduate studies as an undergraduate student, but here I am coming close to completing my PhD dissertation.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love being able to apply my scientific knowledge and skills to help others, specially help families who are looking for their loved ones that may already have been found but yet to be identified.

Best advice for next generation?

Follow your passion. Follow your dream. You will get there with hard work, dedication and love.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”

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