When Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka won the Nobel Prize in 2012 for his work on stem cells, Edvinas Cerniauskas, then 21, became interested in the field and soon began to plan how he could come to Japan and study at the cutting edge.

His dream was becoming reality when he was accepted to Kyoto University — where he intends to pursue a doctorate at Yamanaka’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application — and received a scholarship from the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry (MEXT).

He had quit his job at a stem cell laboratory in the U.K. and returned to his native Lithuania to prepare to come to Japan in April, when the country imposed travel restrictions to curb COVID-19 infections.