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2016/12/09
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We congratulate Prof. Yoshinori Ohsumi (Professor Emeritus of our University and the National Institute of Basic Biology) for his being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. (Message from the graduates)

Takayoshi Kirisako(Kirin Co. Ltd./ Quality Assurance Department)
(March, 2001 Graduated from Department of Molecular Biomechanics (Current: Department of Basic Biology))

 Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi, please accept my sincere congratulations in winning the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
 When I was studying under him, we were still at the dawn of the study of mechanisms for autophagy. In the past twenty years, his original discovery had led various new insights not only in the mechanism but also in physiology, which brought a great present “Nobel Prize” to him. At 3rd October, I was delighted to hear that as if I had won it myself.
 New discoveries were being made one after another in Ohsumi laboratory when I was in his lab., two of which were selected as key publications of Nobel Prize Award. It is no doubt that the days were one of the most exciting periods in my research life. In those days, I really was with him and studied autophagy. Only a very few people could experience such great time. That is a miracle! I offer my sincerest gratitude to Professor Ohsumi for giving me that valuable experience.
 In the near future, the research in autophagy will further progress and make a contribution to mankind in a visible way. This Nobel Prize award to Professor Ohsumi was apparently a good opportunity to look back that basic research is indispensable for applied research. As he always insists, I also dearly hope that culture where basic research is respected will be rooted in Japan.

    A courtesy call to Professor Ohsumi to congratulate the professor on being awarded
    the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
Left, Takashi Kirisako(writer), Right, Prof. Ohsumi. Photo courtesy of:Takayoshi Kirisako

Left, Takashi Kirisako(writer), Right, Prof. Ohsumi. Photo courtesy of:Takayoshi Kirisako

Yoshinobu Ichimura (Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Department of Biochemistry, Associate Professor)
(March, 2002 Graduated from Department of Molecular Biomechanics (Current: Department of Basic Biology))

 I offer my sincere congratulations Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi, on being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
 I joined Ohsumi lab. in the National Institute for Basic Biology in August 1998. At that time, autophagy-related genes, APGs (currently called as ATGs) have not been completely identified in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the functions of Apg proteins have remained largely uncharacterized.
 In the same year, I have started a research of Apg3 at SOKENDAI. Although I was supported by excellent teaching staff of Ohsumi lab., Assistant Professor Kenji Noda (currently Professor at Osaka university) and Dr. Naotada Ishihara (currently, Professor at Kurume University), I could not report any progress on my work. Looking at my predicament, Professor Ohsumi said, “Apg3 became a real Apg” with a smile. Professor Ohsumi probably just wanted to tell me that we do not know anything about autophagy that is why you should enjoy your research theme even more, because unknowns are the most interesting issues in science. By this simple message, I was able to concentrate on my research and obtain PhD.
 Many unsolved problems are still remaining in autophagy, and Professor Ohsumi should keep enjoying his research forever. As a disciple of Professor Ohsumi, I will continue my research while enjoying unknown. Finally, I would like to submit this as a congratulatory message to Professor Ohsumi and wish him good health and further success.

    Photo taken while walking around Gordon Research Conference venue in Il Ciocco, Italy in 2010.
    Professor Ohsumi found a plant (herb?) on the side of a road and tasted it.
From left, Prof. Koji Okamoto (Osaka Univ.), Yoshinobu Ichimura (writer), Prof. Masaaki Komatsu (Niigata Univ.), Prof. Takashi Ueno (Juntendo Univ.), Prof. Yoshinori Ohsumi. Photo courtesy of: Yoshinobu Ichimura

From left, Prof. Koji Okamoto (Osaka Univ.), Yoshinobu Ichimura (writer), Prof. Masaaki Komatsu (Niigata Univ.), Prof. Takashi Ueno (Juntendo Univ.), Prof. Yoshinori Ohsumi.
Photo courtesy of: Yoshinobu Ichimura

Kuninori Suzuki (Associate Professor, Bioimaging center, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, the University of Tokyo)
(March, 2002 Graduated from Department of Molecular Biomechanics (Current: Department of Basic Biology))

「What I have learned from Professor Ohsumi」

 Professor Ohsumi, congratulations on winning the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
 In April, 1999, I enrolled in the doctoral course at Sokendai and belonged to the Ohsumi laboratory located in the National Institute for Basic Biology, Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture. First, I have learned a sincere attitude toward biological phenomena from Professor Ohsumi. No matter how trivial the data I brought, he would discuss it very carefully. Furthermore, I was impressed with his effort to pursue the accuracy of scientific papers. When submitting a paper, we would have a discussion for over 20 hours during a weekend. In my doctoral course, he did not receive any awards but, I believe, such steadfast efforts paved the way to win the Nobel Prize.
 Professor Ohsumi said in his interview after being awarded the Nobel Prize that only about 30% has been known about autophagy so far. I believe the challenging task for us researchers who have been educated by Professor Ohsumi is to clarify the remaining 70%.

    Photo taken at the Gairdner International Award celebration in June, 2015.
Left, Prof. Ohsumi, Right, Kuninori Suzuki (writer). Photo courtesy of:Kuninori Suzuki

Left, Prof. Ohsumi, Right, Kuninori Suzuki (writer). Photo courtesy of:Kuninori Suzuki

Akiko Kuma (The University of Tokyo, Graduate Schooland Faculty of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,Assistant Professor)
(March, 2003 Graduated from Department of Molecular Biomechanics (Current: Department of Basic Biology))

 Professor Ohsumi, congratulations on being awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. These past few years, it has become an annual event of our laboratory staff to wait for the announcement of the Nobel Prize by watching the coverage on our large PC monitor.
 This year, as the announcement was made, cheers erupted and reporters who were standing by poured in to our lab and every one was unbelievably excited. I am very fortunate to be able to be at the historical moment of being awarded the Nobel Prize.
 Back then, in the Basic Biology laboratory, I was carrying out research amongst all the professors/instructors who are now in high positions but back then they were hard at work doing research as Postdocs and that is when I learned about the fun side of Science. Professor Ohsumi was always playful and the three years of doctoral course I have spent at Ohsumi laboratory was really a precious time for me. Those times I will always treasure. I would like to offer my sincere gratitude and congratulations on winning the Nobel Prize.

    At the Ohsumi laboratory in 2015
From left, Instructor Yoko Hara(Tokyo Institute of Technology), Tomoko Horie(Tokyo Institute of Technology), Akiko Kuma(writer), Prof. Yoshinori Ohsumi. Photo courtesy of: Akiko Kuma

From left, Instructor Yoko Hara(Tokyo Institute of Technology), Tomoko Horie(Tokyo Institute of Technology), Akiko Kuma(writer), Prof. Yoshinori Ohsumi. Photo courtesy of: Akiko Kuma

Maho Hamasaki (Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine Associate Professor of Genetics)
(March, 2003 Graduated from Department of Molecular Biomechanics (Current: Department of Basic Biology))

 6:30 pm, 3rd of October, “Yes ~~~~he did it!!” and I jumped for joy. I found about it through a LINE message from my mother saying Professor Ohsumi did it, even though I was waiting eagerly watching the internet. The TV messages were faster than the video distribution on the net. Furthermore, when I found out that it was Professor Ohsumi’s sole award, my joy increased several hundred times. Founder of “autophagy”, the father can only be Professor Ohsumi! Of course, this field has gained recognition because of the help and efforts of all of international and domestic researchers!!.     
 I witnessed a moment you only experience once in a life time and what I feel most valuable more than anything else as a researcher is that I saw the field of autophagy, which was unknown, grow to what it is now today.
 I am often asked, “What kind of person is Professor Ohsumi?” so I would like to give you an example that shows his personality. I often ask stupid questions. Most people would say, “Don’t you know a simple thing like that?””. However, Professor Ohsumi would explain his ideas to me in the same soft spoken tone as when he was being interviewed, “Well that is ~~~~.” I truly treasure the fact that I was able to meet a professor whom I can learn from, not only about research but a lot about being a good human being as well.
 Professor, congratulations, honestly! I would also like to offer my gratitude for providing me with a variety of experiences.

    Professor Ohsumi’s 60th Birthday Celebration
Photo courtesy of: Maho Hamasaki

Photo courtesy of: Maho Hamasaki

Kyoko Ohoka (Yamanashi University Department of Medicine Assistant Professor of Immunology)
(March, 2009 Graduated from Department of Basic Biology)

 Professor Ohsumi, congratulations on being awarded the Nobel Prize.
 I spent my research days at the Ohsumi laboratory from April, 2006 to March 2010, first as a graduate student of Sokendai Graduate School of Life Science and after that as Postdoc for one year. There are many fabulous researchers at the Ohsumi laboratory and of course we are hard at work carrying out our research but we also did have frequent nights out drinking with Professor Ohsumi. Professor not only talked about research but also spoke about various subjects such as the way of life as a researcher and the state of society and the times spent with him were very enjoyable and fruitful. Professor Ohsumi always told us not to do what is trendy but to do what you think is interesting. I would like to keep these words deep in my heart and carry on with my research.
 Professor Ohsumi, congratulations on your winning the Nobel Prize. I offer my congratulations from the bottom of my heart.

    In front of the SOKENDAI monument with Professor Ohsumi after the graduation ceremony
Left, Prof. Ohsumi, Right, Kyoko Ohoka (writer). Photo courtesy of:Kyoko Ohoka

Left, Prof. Ohsumi, Right, Kyoko Ohoka (writer). Photo courtesy of:Kyoko Ohoka

Posted On 2016.12.09 By 広報社会連携室
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