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I am a third-generation Japanese-American born in Las Cruces, New Mexico. My Nakayama grandparents immigrated to the United States in 1907, and began farming in the Mesilla Valley in 1918. My father, Carl, and his youngest brother maintained and expanded the family farm. Another brother, Roy, was a chile and pecan researcher at NMSU where he developed the Big Jim variety of chile. My mother’s family, the Yabumotos, farmed in Chamberino, near Anthony, NM where my mother was born.
I am a graduate of Las Cruces High School. Higher education includes a BA in Biology from Pomona College, Claremont, CA, an MA in Zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, CA, and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. My professional career has been as a medical researcher, specializing in virus infections of the brain. Most of my research career was at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD.