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MIT lab technician serves as expert in the human brain and kimonos

MIT lab technician is a kimono expert in spare time
MIT lab technician is a kimono expert in spare time 02:37

BOSTON – At a home in Dorchester, Ara Mahar is busy picking an outfit for an upcoming event. This isn't your usual shirt and pants dilemma. Mahar is sorting through hundreds of vibrantly colored kimono accessories.

The centuries old Japanese apparel began as everyday wear but has evolved into a highly artistic and meaningful tradition.

It begins with an underlayer.

"Just flatten everything out until you're one giant tube. Then you can wear kimono" Mahar explains with a chuckle.

Expert in human brain and kimonos

Mahar's dressing room is a converted bedroom with tatami mat flooring and full-length mirrors. It's cozy and comfortable and is vastly different from their work environment.

Across the Charles River, Mahar bangs away at their laptop keyboard. Mahar is a lab technician at MIT's McGovern Institute for brain research.

"My primary role is as a histologist, which means we actually take brains and slice them up and then put stains on them with fluorescent dyes. Then look at them under the microscope to see all sorts of different proteins and cell types" Mahar explained in laymen's terms.

Passion for the kimono

Mahar loves the work, but their true passion is the kimono. It began as a curiosity more than a decade ago, but Mahar became so enamored they moved to Japan to formally study it in 2016. 

Mahar became an expert, and moved back to Boston two years later. Mahar now gives demonstrations and lectures throughout the area.

You can follow Mahar by visiting their website

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