The Physiologist

Perkins Award: The Award of My Million Memories

Supaporn Kulthinee

From my undergraduate years through my postdoctoral training, I have spent the majority of my life performing physiological studies and research, and I know I will continue to do so throughout my life. I have a wonderful opportunity to complete my postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Physiology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans under the direction of Dr. L. Gabriel Navar, who is a physiologist role model. Besides my love in physiology, my family means the world to me. Every Christmas season, my two daughters had only previously seen Santa Claus and snow on the television. I had to answer the same question from them every year: "When will we get to play in the snow?" Playing in the snow is a big dream of both my little princesses, as there is no snow in Thailand. I could only answer them that I hope our family will play in the snow together one day.

I am very grateful to the American Physiological Society—especially the committee for the John F. Perkins, Jr. Memorial Award. This award has given me and my family a great opportunity to be able to spend time together in the U.S. during my fellowship and provide a wonderful cultural experience for all of us to share together. The support obtained from the award covered expenses including an English as a Second Language course for my husband, violin lessons for Aum, and art lessons for Ing-Ing. Our family flew to the Northeast to visit my friends, Pupay and Preaw, and they brought my family to play in the snow. We also visited several landmarks including the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island in New York, the National Museum of National History, the Washington Monument, the White House, and the Abraham Lincoln Monument in Washington, DC. This short time together gave us a lifetime of treasured memories.

I am so lucky to live in one of the world's most fascinating cities—New Orleans—the birthplace of jazz. Even though I live in Thailand, I have fallen in love with the song "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. Living in the city of his birthplace and the city with an abundance of great music makes me feel full of happiness. Our family was impressed by the French Quarter architecture, which blends Spanish, French, Creole, and American styles together. They have many beautiful buildings; the most recognizable for us is St. Louis Cathedral, which is one of the most impressive structures in the French Quarter. During our weekends, we like to have a picnic at Audubon Park. We enjoy the ever-beautiful oak trees, lagoons, and green space located within the park. Starting in the spring and lasting until late fall, there is a festival happening just about every weekend, including the glorious French Quarter Fest, Jazzfest, Seafood Festival, and many others. We could go on and on. We have enjoyed the unique cuisine from gumbo to beignets. New Orleans has given me an even deeper understanding of the meaning of the song "What a Wonderful World"!

We have had several other beautiful events with the Tulane Physiology team. Thanks to Debbie and her family, we were invited to celebrate Thanksgiving day with them. It was our first time celebrating this holiday, and we had a wonderful time sharing meals with turkeys, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. We also had a great time at Dr. Prieto's house, where we shared our various ethnic foods including Thai, American, Mexican, and Spanish foods. My daughters also had so much fun swimming at her house. During Christmas time, we had an unforgettable Christmas party at Dr. Navar's house. Aum played Christmas songs on the violin at the party. I was surprised when my daughters received presents that they wished to have (one was a dog and one was a bear) from Dr. Navar and Mrs. Navar. I would like to thank all of them for their kindness to me and my family. We have nothing but great respect and love for all of them.

I would like to extend my appreciation to my former professors, Dr. Sanya Roysommuti and Dr. Dusit Jirakulsomchok, who sparked the idea for me to do research in the U.S. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. L. Gabriel Navar for my inspiration to work in the renal physiology field and who gave me such a great opportunity to complete my postdoctoral training with him. Finally, I would like to thank the John F. Perkins Jr. Memorial Award for International Physiologists along with the American Physiological Society for this award, which has provided our family with a million treasured memories. Please accept the sincere appreciation from me and my entire family.