“Finding joy in the little everyday things and adding the small changes lead to a new discovery”
~ Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi
Heartiest felicitations to prof. Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan for winning the Nobel Prize 2016 in the field of Physiology or Medicine! I always feel deep reverence for scientists. They not only furthered our understanding of intricacies of the nature, human body and the whole system but also chose a goal and career that benefits humanity.
He was honored for experiments in 1990s on autophagy, the “self-eating” process with which cells break down and recycle some of their content.
Ohsumi says “ The human body is always repeating the auto-decomposing process, or cannibalism, and there is a fine balance between formation and decomposition. That’s what life is about.”
“That was the hardest time in my life.”
For his career, first he chose to study chemistry at the University of Tokyo, but found out it wasn’t so attractive. Then he joined a molecular biology lab, but did not get very good results in his work and a hard time to find a job. So, he went to New York to work at The Rockefeller University. There he worked on mammalian cells for the first time, and did not know much about it.
He says “ I’d like to tell young people that not all can be successful in science, but it’s important to rise to the challenge.”
“It all started with a microscope.”
“I started out with a love of the microscope. Vacuoles are the only organelle visible under the light microscope, and I often observed them. My observations under the microscope were the main reason I was able to discover these hitherto unknown functions of vacuoles,” he says.
“Doing something no one else is doing”
“While working in Professor Anraku’s laboratory, I chose the transport of materials to the yeast vacuoles as my research project, because no one else was studying it,” Professor Ohsumi says.
He also won Kyoto Prize in 2012 in the field of basic science.
- Picture and video courtesy: Google and YouTube.