Yoshinori Ohsumi wins Nobel Prize 2016 in medicine for his work on Autophagy

Video Courtesy: DW News

Today is the day to draw red ring in the calendar. The Nobel Prize for 2016 in Medicine has been announced and has been awarded to 71years old, Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries on how cells detoxify and can repair themselves. Flipping back sometime in June this year the Japanese scientist has also been awarded with 2016 Paul Janssen Award.

The Japanese Cell Biologist received prestigious 8m Swedish Kronor (61,000,000 INR approximately) for unveiling the mechanism of autophagy.

yoshinori-ohsumi-credit-titech-30w1t2nsey2wrdrqcgoxkwAutophagy is a recycling programme of cells where scrap cells are targeted down and the useful parts are taken out to be used for new cellular components. This is a general process that occurs regularly to maintain a healthy metabolism and preventing from conditions like cancer and diabetes. Apart from that dysfunction of Autophagy has also been reported in Parkinson’s disease and other age related disorders. Several researches are still underway to find potential drug targets in various autophagy related disorders.

It was much difficult for Dr. Ohsumi to understand this phenomenon with lack of sophisticated techniques that are now available. In his study in yeast cells, he identified the genes involved in such process and also shown how these genes code for proteins that come together to form autophagosome membrane. He later also proved the similar phenomenon in human cells and our cell could not survive without this autophagy.

In an interview in Tokyo with reporters Ohsumi said, “As a boy, the Nobel Prize was a dream, but after starting my research, it was out of my picture.” (Courtesy: Guardian)

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About Saumyadip

Science Communicator and Biologist. Keep interests in host-pathogen interaction research. Specifically bacterial infection mechanism, host infection evasion and immune susceptibility of host. PhD student at Academia Sinica Molecular and Cell Biology, Taiwan
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