Nicaragua, Japan, and Salamanders – Dr. Casco’s Journey

As some of you may know, our High School biology teacher, Martín Casco, received a new job offer in Japan and is leaving ANS in early March this year. We all wish him the best of luck in this new chapter of his life! But first, we had a few questions to find out more about his new journey.

Dr. Casco is moving to Tsukuba City, located 45 minutes northeast
from Tokyo, Japan. In his new city, he will be working at the Department of Life & Environmental Science at the University of Tsukuba. He will be an assistant professor and the principal investigator for the Laboratory of Regenerative Biology. He will also take part in supporting undergraduate student admissions.

Dr. Casco hopes that this opportunity will allow him to discover more about the world. He believes that research is a pivotal topic that can help humanity learn knowledge that they didn’t have before, and he believes that teaching will allow knowledge to be learned and passed on to other people.

Using the tools of research and teaching, he hopes to gain new insight on the molecular mechanisms of salamander tissue regeneration, a project he has been working on ever since he returned to Nicaragua to teach. During his time in Nicaragua, he studied the salamanders found at Volcan Mombacho. Dr. Casco wants to learn more about their regenerative ability, with his dream being that maybe one day his salamander regeneration research can be used to save lives.

Even though he is leaving to Tsukuba City, Dr. Casco still intends to return to Nicaragua, which is his home and ANS is his second home. Each time he returns, he feels welcomed. He is also still committed to improving scientific research and education in Nicaragua, since this is his lifelong goal, and as a way to give back to the Nicaraguan community.

When asked about what he will miss about Nicaragua and ANS, he responded with: coffee, tropical fruits, and roast beef, among other foods. He will also miss discussing science and tech-related topics while also “geeking out” with students and teachers, Friday B days basketball, and the satisfaction of buying a churro or brownie from the food court before students eat them all.

Dr. Casco leaves ANS with this message: “If I am tough and strict at times with you, it’s because I care, not because I am being mean. Measure yourself and others by the size of your hearts. It’s okay to be goofy and weird and it’s okay to be serious and disciplined. Honor the people, ideas, and things you love, commit to personal growth, and respect everyone. Summon all your strength and simply do the right thing, practice excellence, lastly the little details in life matter. Becoming smarter, faster and better should never make you arrogant. Kindness is not a weakness. Find your passion. Ask yourself where are you going to be in: one year, ten years, and fifty years?”  To 2020 seniors: in a sea of new experiences ,don’t forget who you are and don’t forget where you came from. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay not to know everything. Be humble. Ask and get help. Congratulations for all your hard work and achievements at ANS. Stay awesome.”

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