Associate Senior Engineer of the Kibo Utilization Center, Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate, JAXA
Sayaka Umemura is the associate senior engineer of the Kibo Utilization Center, human spaceflight technology directorate of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). In this role, Ms. Umemura focuses on integrating life science experiments on the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory, especially cell biology and microbiology. She is also establishing a new platform for cell science in the Japanese Experiment Module, Kibo. Ms. Umemura began her career at JAXA in 2003, with international coordination in the Program Management Office of Space Utilization Promotion Department. She has played an active role in ISS utilization, including user integration in life science experiments, collaboration with Asian countries, outreach and communication of the ISS research results and benefits for humanity, and in the promotion of commercial use of ISS. She previously served as the deputy director of the JAXA Houston office from 2016 to 2019. Ms. Umemura received a bachelor’s degree in zoological sciences in 2001, and obtained a master’s degree in biological sciences in 2003, all from the University of Tokyo. Most recently she was the second place winner of the Toastmasters 2021 district contest in both Japanese and English.