Eriko Watanabe

Eriko Watanabe - 2014 SPIE Women in Optics Planner

Assistant Professor, The University of Electro-Communications, Japan
Country of Birth: Japan

Educational Background: PhD, MSc, BSc, Japan Women's University


Eriko WatanabeMy greatest inspiration has been my mentor and PhD supervisor Prof. Kashiko Kodate; she is a well-known professor in the field of micro-optics and a great role model for female researchers, and is also a mother of three. My decision to undertake research in the field of optics was heavily influenced by her advice and attitude towards work and life. Additionally, my interactions with female researchers in Japan and abroad (including those within SPIE Women in Optics) have also encouraged me to stay active in science and engineering.

Currently I lead my own research group at the University of Electro-Communications (UEC) in Tokyo, Japan. My research interests cover a wide range of areas, such as optical computing and image processing, optical sensing devices, and biomedical imaging devices. I also give lectures and supervise undergraduate and graduate students' research projects. In my laboratory, I have so far developed a non-contact and non-destructive method for determining the phase information of biological cells. My team is also engaged in research on optical correlators for fast recognition of images. This has been applied to various image and movie searches, leading to the foundation of a UEC-affiliated venture, Photonic System Solutions Inc. (PSS). I launched PSS with Prof. Kodate in 2008, and am now acting as its technical advisor as well.

The science and technology products we use in our everyday lives are the results of studies and untiring efforts of engineers and researchers. Breakthroughs in research make the profession of researchers very interesting and exciting. Imagination, logical thinking, and the ability to execute are necessary in the research process and can be important skills
in any field. To mimic the words of Dr. William S. Clark, "Girls, be ambitious!"