After a Ph.D. in chemistry from The University of Tokyo, she worked as a postdoctoral Research associate in the Department of Chemistry and then Research Fellow/Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Biophysics at King’s College London. She obtained a permanent senior staff scientist position at Institute of Cancer Research, UK. She is a chemist and biologist and now investigates chirality (left-right asymmetry). She was awarded many prizes including L’Oreal UNESCO Women in Science (2013), Prime Minister's Commendation for Efforts toward the Formation of a Gender-Equal Society (2014) and Academia Prize, The Academic Society of Japan (2015). She is a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
She has been involved in science policy, science communication and capacity building as well, e.g., as the vice president of International Council for Science (ICSU, 2008-2011), a member of the Council of Science and Technology Policy (CSTP), Cabinet office of Japanese Government (2001-2007), and is now a member of Scientific Advisory Board to the United Nations Secretary General on global sustainability (2013- ), and a Fellow of TWAS (2014- ). She has founded a campus-wide minor-degree graduate course on science interpretation at The University of Tokyo.