Yoshinori Ohsumi

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
Yoshinori Ohsumi in 2016
Born (1945-02-09) February 9, 1945
Alma materUniversity of Tokyo (B.Sc) (D.Sc)
Rockefeller University (Post-Doc)
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 was born on February 9, 1945, in Fukuoka, Japan. 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, Japan. where he was appointed as a professor. From 2004 to 2009 he was also professor at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Hayama, Japan. 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]



Selected publications

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

  • Ohsumi, Yoshinori; et al. (October 1992). "Autophagy in Yeast Demonstrated with Proteinase-Deficient Mutants and Conditions for Its Induction". The Journal of Cell Biology. 119 (2): 301–311. doi:10.1083/jcb.119.2.301. JSTOR 1615399. PMC 2289660. PMID 1400575.

Follow up with more research on yeast:[17]


See also


  1. Yoshinori Ohsumi's Entry at ORCID
  2. Biemiller, Lawrence (2012-11-10). "Kyoto Prize Is Awarded to 3 Scholars". The Chronicle of Higher Education Blogs: The Ticker. Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  3. "Laureates—Breakthrough Prize". Breakthrough Prize. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  4. "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2016". The Nobel Foundation. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  5. "Yoshinori Ohsumi Biography". Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology. Retrieved 10 October 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 15 January 2018.
  7. "Nobel honors discoveries on how cells eat themselves". Science. 3 Oct 2016. doi:10.1126/science.aah7373. Retrieved 5 Oct 2016.
  8. Daniel J. Klionsky (2007). "Autophagy: from phenomenology to molecular understanding in less than a decade". Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology. 8 (11): 931–937. doi:10.1038/nrm2245. PMID 17712358.
  9. "Yoshinori Ohsumi - Nobel Lecture: Autophagy - an Intracellular Recycling System". Nobel Prize. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  10. Kolata, Gina; Chan, Sewell (3 October 2016). "Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan Wins Nobel Prize for Study of 'Self-Eating' Cells". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  11. Wanklyn, Alastair (3 October 2016). "Japanese microbiologist Yoshinori Ohsumi wins Nobel in medicine for autophagy research". The Japan Times. Retrieved 8 October 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". Scholar.google.com.
  14. "Yoshinori Ohsumi". Kyoto Prize. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  15. "Yoshinori Ohsumi wins Nobel prize in medicine for work on autophagy". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  16. "Breakthrough Prize – Life Sciences : Breakthrough Prize Laureates – Yoshinori Ohsumi". Breakthroughprize.org. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  17. "Nobel Prize Laureate Yoshinori Ohsumi's Work". Jstor Daily. October 3, 2016.
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