Special Interview -Episode1001

Mr Guntars Kitenbergs
University of Latvia

Mr Guntars Kitenbergs carried out his Ph.D study on nano magnetism in collaborations with young researchers at the Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre.

He stayed at the Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre from 9th to 28th April, 2014.

[ Dr Maekawa, Mr Kitenbergs, Dr Fukuda (from left) ]


Please introduce yourself and your universities.

My name is Guntars Kitenbergs. Currently I am a PhD student, doing a joint degree program between the MMML lab at the University of Latvia (Riga, Latvia) and the PHENIX lab at the Pierre and Marie Curie University (Paris, France). My supervisor from the Latvian side is prof. Andrejs Cebers, but from the French side - prof. Regine Perzynski, whose effort and the fruitful collaboration with prof. Toru Maekawa gave me the opportunity to visit the BNERC.
The University of Latvia is my alma mater and it is my immediate association when I think about science in Latvia. Even though the university itself is big, the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics is rather small with only ~500 students, making the atmosphere more personal and friendly, even between students and professors. Particularly enjoyable is the active student life with many social events that have old traditions, like dance balls, boat trips, festival, and sports events. Even professors like to take part in them. Alumni of the faculty are referred as ‘FIZMATI’, which has become almost a brand name, referring to good skills and knowledge. Concerning research, most labs and groups, including MMML, are small in numbers, but compensate it with being active and having collaborations abroad.
The UPMC I have got to know only during my PhD studies. It impresses me with its scale, competence and style. The Jussieu campus with its huge and dominant logical grid-like structure contrasts the many smaller fragments of the French design, making it a perfect place for the international mix that is present there. Many facilities and research topics in one place in the combination with people from all around the world can and do provoke interesting discussions, as well as encourage various free time activities and interest groups. The PHENIX lab welcomes one with an amiable environment that comes from the packed offices of good-humored researchers. The daily rhythm might seem slow, but it is highly efficient. Only after starting to work you get to know their deep knowledge and high competence that I appreciate and try to learn from.

What is your recent research topic?

The title of my PhD thesis is ‘Macro and micro-rheology of magnetic soft materials’. It covers various phenomena connected to magnetic fluids and systems involving them, including magnetic particle diffusion, magnetic micro-convection and also magnetic liposomes, which have brought me here to Japan.

What is your motivation to do research abroad?

I believe that international research collaborations enrich both parties as they can learn from each other’s experience. In particular, spending a longer time abroad gives me a fresh look on my work and the ability to compare the different approaches. Besides, as I come from Latvia, which is a rather small country with a limited number of research facilities, collaboration allows me to try some specific experiments without the need to buy the equipment.

Please give a message to the Toyo University students who think about doing research abroad.

I strongly encourage them to try it! It will not only broaden their professional proficiency and skills, but also give an international and intercultural experience that, in my opinion, is crucial in today’s world. Surely, language and environment differences and distance from home are not easy to handle especially at the beginning, but the acquired knowledge and experience greatly outweigh them.

Are you enjoying your stay in the BNERC?

Oh, yes. It has been a wonderful experience! Of course, the modern facilities of the center are amazing, but it is the people working here that have made my stay so great.

What is your dream and goal regarding research?

My dream is to lead a research group working in the physics and biology interface in the University of Latvia. And it would be great to have collaboration with the BNERC!


University of Latvia, established in 1919, is the main and only classical university in Latvia. With its 15’000 students (2013), 13 faculties and more than 20 research institutes, it is also one of the largest comprehensive and leading research universities in the Baltic States. The MMML lab (Laboratory of Magnetic Soft Materials), which is a unit of the Department of Theoretical Physics of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, specializes in fundamental theoretical and experimental research of magnetics in soft matter.
Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC - Paris 6), a member of the Sorbonne University cluster, situated in Paris, France, was created in 1971 and currently has 31’000 students (2013). It is the principal heir of the Faculty of Science of the old University of Paris and focuses on excellent education and research in natural sciences and medicine. The PHENIX lab (Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Electrolytes and Interfaces of Nano-systems) specializes in physical chemistry of colloids and porous materials at various scales and has a great experience in coupling such experiments with simulations.


Episode 1002