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Yoshinori Ohsumi (大隅 良典, Ōsumi Yoshinori, born February 9, 1945) is a Japanese cell biologist specializing in autophagy, the process that cells use to destroy and recycle cellular components. Ohsumi is a professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology's Institute of Innovative Research.[1] He received the Kyoto Prize for Basic Sciences in 2012,[2] the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and the 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences[3] for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy.[4]

Yoshinori Ohsumi
Ohsumi in 2016
Born (1945-02-09) February 9, 1945 (age 79)
Fukuoka, Japan
Alma materUniversity of Tokyo (BSc, DSc)
Rockefeller University
Known forAutophagy
AwardsKyoto Prize (2012)
Gairdner Foundation International Award (2015)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2016)
Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2017)
Scientific career
FieldsCell biologist
InstitutionsTokyo Institute of Technology


Ohsumi addressed at Gairdner Foundation International Award Ceremony (at the Royal Ontario Museum in October 2015)
with John Dirks, Kenjirō Monji and D. Lorne Tyrrell

Ohsumi was born on February 9, 1945, in Fukuoka. He received a B.Sci. in 1967 and a D.Sci. in 1974, both from the University of Tokyo. In 1974–77 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University in New York City.[1]

He returned to the University of Tokyo in 1977 as a research associate; he was appointed Lecturer there in 1986, and promoted to Associate Professor in 1988. In 1996, he moved to the National Institute for Basic Biology, Japan in Okazaki City, where he was appointed as a professor. From 2004 to 2009, he was also professor at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Hayama. In 2009, he transitioned to a three-way appointment as an emeritus professor at the National Institute for Basic Biology and at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, and a professorship at the Advanced Research Organization, Integrated Research Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech). After his retirement in 2014, he continued to serve as Professor at Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology. Currently, he is head of the Cell Biology Research Unit, Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology.[5]

Christian de Duve coined the term autophagy in 1963 whereas Ohsumi began his work in 1988. Prior to that time, less than 20 papers per year were published on this subject.[6] During the 1990s, Ohsumi's group described the morphology of autophagy in yeast, and performed mutational screening on yeast cells that identified essential genes for cells to be capable of autophagy.[7][8]

In 2016, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy".[9][10] He is the 25th Japanese person to be awarded a Nobel Prize.[11] Ohsumi's spouse Mariko, a Professor of Teikyo University of Science, collaborated on his research.[12] She is a co-author of many academic papers with him.[13]


Ohsumi in his Tokyo Tech lab


Selected publications

His original findings about autophagy in yeast cells:[17]

Follow up with more research on yeast:[17]


See also


  1. ^ a b Yoshinori Ohsumi's ORCID 0000-0003-2384-2166
  2. ^ Biemiller, Lawrence (November 10, 2012). "Kyoto Prize Is Awarded to 3 Scholars". The Chronicle of Higher Education Blogs: The Ticker. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  3. ^ "Laureates—Breakthrough Prize". Breakthrough Prize. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  4. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2016". The Nobel Foundation. October 3, 2016. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Yoshinori Ohsumi Biography". Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  6. ^ "Yoshinori Ohsumi: What is autophagy? A dynamic cellular recycling process". Molecular Frontiers Symposium at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan. October 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  7. ^ Science Staff (October 3, 2016). "Nobel honors discoveries on how cells eat themselves". Science. doi:10.1126/SCIENCE.AAH7373. ISSN 0036-8075. Wikidata Q57407776.
  8. ^ Klionsky DJ (November 2007). "Autophagy: from phenomenology to molecular understanding in less than a decade". Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology. 8 (11): 931–7. doi:10.1038/NRM2245. ISSN 1471-0072. PMID 17712358. S2CID 7376303. Wikidata Q29614174.
  9. ^ "Yoshinori Ohsumi – Nobel Lecture: Autophagy – an Intracellular Recycling System". Nobel Prize. December 7, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  10. ^ Kolata, Gina; Chan, Sewell (October 3, 2016). "Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan Wins Nobel Prize for Study of 'Self-Eating' Cells". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  11. ^ Wanklyn, Alastair (October 3, 2016). "Japanese microbiologist Yoshinori Ohsumi wins Nobel in medicine for autophagy research". The Japan Times. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  12. ^ "大隅萬里子教授の共同研究がノーベル医学・生理学賞として選定されました" [A joint research of Professor Mariko Ohsumi won Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine]. Teikyo University of Science. October 5, 2016.
  13. ^ "Google Scholar".
  14. ^ "Yoshinori Ohsumi". Kyoto Prize. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  15. ^ "Yoshinori Ohsumi wins Nobel prize in medicine for work on autophagy". The Guardian. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  16. ^ "Breakthrough Prize – Life Sciences : Breakthrough Prize Laureates – Yoshinori Ohsumi". Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Nobel Prize Laureate Yoshinori Ohsumi's Work". Jstor Daily. October 3, 2016.

External links

  • Yoshinori Ohsumi on   inclkuding the Nobel Lecture December 7, 2016 Molecular Mechanisms of Autophagy in Yeast