Shinya Yamanaka in 2013
September 4, 1962 |
Higashiōsaka, Osaka, Japan
|Fields||Stem cell research|
|Institutions||Kyoto University, Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease|
|Alma mater||Kobe University
Osaka City University
|Known for||Induced pluripotent stem cell|
|Notable awards||Robert Koch Prize (2008)
Shaw Prize (2008)
Gairdner Foundation International Award (2009)
Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (2009)
BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2010)
Wolf Prize (2011)
McEwen Award for Innovation (2011)
Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (2012)
Millennium Technology Prize (2012)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2012)
Shinya Yamanaka (山中 伸弥 Yamanaka Shin'ya , born September 4, 1962) is a Japanese physician and researcher of adult stem cells. He serves as the director of Center for iPS Cell Research and Application and a professor at the Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences at Kyoto University; as a senior investigator at the UCSF-affiliated J. David Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, California; and as a professor of anatomy at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Yamanaka is also the current president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR).
He received the Wolf Prize in Medicine in 2011 with Rudolf Jaenisch; the Millennium Technology Prize in 2012 together with Linus Torvalds. In 2012 he and John Gurdon were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells. In 2013 he was awarded the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his work.
Yamanaka was born in Higashiōsaka. After graduating from Tennōji High School attached to Osaka Kyoiku University, he received his M.D. at Kobe University in 1987 and his PhD at Osaka City University Graduate School in 1993. After this, he went through a residency in orthopedic surgery at National Osaka Hospital and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, San Francisco.
Professional career 
Between 1987 and 1989, Yamanaka was a resident in orthopedic surgery at the National Osaka Hospital. His first operation, was removing a benign tumor from his friend Shuichi Hirata, a task he could not complete after one hour, when a skilled surgeon would take ten minutes or so. Some seniors referred to him as "Jamanaka", a pun on the Japanese word for obstacle.
From 1993 to 1996, he was at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, which is affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, where there was an atmosphere of freedom and the ability to speak frankly with colleagues. Between 1996 and 1999, he was an assistant professor at Osaka City University Medical School, but found himself mostly looking after mice in the laboratory, not doing actual research.
His wife advised him to become a practicing doctor, but instead he applied for a position at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology. He stated that he could and would clarify the characteristics of embryonic stem cells, and this can-do attitude won him the job. From 1999–2003, he was an associate professor there, and started the research that would later win him the 2012 Nobel Prize. He became a full professor and remained at the institute in that position from 2003–2005. Between 2004 and 2010, Yamanaka was a professor at the Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences. Currently, Yamanaka is the director and a professor at the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University.
In 2006, he and his team generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from adult mouse fibroblasts. iPS cells closely resemble embryonic stem cells, the in vitro equivalent of the part of the blastocyst (the embryo a few days after fertilization) which grows to become the embryo proper. They could show that his iPS cells were pluripotent, i.e. capable of generating all cell lineages of the body. Later he and his team generated iPS cells from human adult fibroblasts, again as the first group to do so. A key difference from previous attempts by the field was his team's use of multiple transcription factors, instead of transfecting one transcription factor per experiment. They started with 24 transcription factors known to be important in the early embryo, but could in the end reduce it to 4 transcription factors – Sox2, Oct4, Klf4 and c-Myc.
Interest in sports 
Yamanaka practiced judo (2dan black belt) and played rugby as a university student. He also has a history of running marathons. After a 20-year gap, he competed in the inaugural Osaka Marathon in 2011 as a charity runner with a time of 4:29:53. He also took part in the 2012 Kyoto Marathon to raise money for iPS research, finishing in 4:03:19. He also ran in the second Osaka Marathon on November 25, 2012.
In 2007, Yamanaka was recognized as a "Person Who Mattered" in the Time Person of the Year edition of Time Magazine. Yamanaka was also nominated as a 2008 Time 100 Finalist. In June 2010, Yamanaka was awarded the Kyoto Prize for reprogramming adult skin cells to pluripotential precursors. Yamanaka developed the method as an alternative to embryonic stem cells, thus circumventing an approach in which embryos would be destroyed.
Yamanaka has been listed as one of the 15 Asian Scientists To Watch by Asian Scientist magazine on May 15, 2011. In June 2011, he was awarded the inaugural McEwen Award for Innovation; he shared the $100,000 prize with Kazutoshi Takahashi, who was the lead author on the paper describing the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells.
Nobel Prize 
In October 2012, he and fellow stem cell researcher John Gurdon were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent."
- 2007 Osaka Science Prize
- 2007 Inoue Prize for Science
- 2007 Asahi Prize
- 2007 Meyenburg Cancer Research Award
- 2008 Yamazaki-Teiichi Prize in Biological Science & Technology
- 2008 Robert Koch Prize
- 2008 Medals of Honor (Japan) (with purple ribbon)
- 2008 Shaw Prize in Life Science & Medicine
- 2008 Sankyo Takamine Memorial Award
- 2008 Massry Prize from the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
- 2009 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research
- 2009 Gairdner Foundation International Award
- 2009 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research
- 2010 March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology
- 2010 Kyoto Prize in Biotechnology and medical technology
- 2010 Balzan Prize in biology
- 2010 Person of Cultural Merit
- 2010 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Biomedicine Category
- 2011 Albany Medical Center Prize in biomedicine
- 2011 Wolf Prize in Medicine
- 2011 King Faisal International Prize
- 2011 McEwen Award for Innovation
- 2012 Millennium Technology Prize
- 2012 Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences
- 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- 2012 Order of Culture
- 2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
- Fackler, Martin (December 11, 2007). "Risk Taking Is in His Genes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-11.
- The Discovery and Future of Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS)
- Cloning and Stem Cell Discoveries Earn Nobel in Medicine (New York Times, October 8, 2012)
- Takahashi, K.; Yamanaka, S. (2006). "Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Mouse Embryonic and Adult Fibroblast Cultures by Defined Factors". Cell 126 (4): 663. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2006.07.024. PMID 16904174.
- Takahashi, K.; Tanabe, K.; Ohnuki, M.; Narita, M.; Ichisaka, T.; Tomoda, K.; Yamanaka, S. (2007). "Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Adult Human Fibroblasts by Defined Factors". Cell 131 (5): 861–872. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.11.019. PMID 18035408.
- Okita, K.; Ichisaka, T.; Yamanaka, S. (2007). "Generation of germline-competent induced pluripotent stem cells". Nature 448 (7151): 313–317. doi:10.1038/nature05934. PMID 17554338.
- Nair, P. (2012). "Profile of Shinya Yamanaka". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109 (24): 9223–9225. doi:10.1073/pnas.1121498109. PMC 3386100. PMID 22619323.
- Uosaki, H.; Fukushima, H.; Takeuchi, A.; Matsuoka, S.; Nakatsuji, N.; Yamanaka, S.; Yamashita, J. K. (2011). "Efficient and Scalable Purification of Cardiomyocytes from Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells by VCAM1 Surface Expression". In Prosper, Felipe. PLoS ONE 6 (8): e23657. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023657. PMC 3158088. PMID 21876760.
- "Shinya Yamanaka Winner of Wolf Prize in Medicine – 2011". Wolf Foundation.
- "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine – 2012 Press Release". Nobel Media AB. 8 October 2012.
- Asahi Shimbun After failure as a surgeon, Yamanaka rises to stem cell glory October 9, 2012
- "Shinya Yamanaka MD., PhD". Kyoto University. Archived from the original on February 10, 2008.
- Daily Yomiuri Yamanaka avid lifelong athlete / Nobel laureate gave same dedication to sports as he has to science October 10, 2012
- "Junying Yu, James Thomson and Shinya Yamanaka". Time. December 19, 2007. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- "Shinya Yamanaka – The 2008 Time 100 Finalists". April 1, 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- Balzan Prize winners in 2010, from the website of the Fondazione internazionale Premio Balzan
- "The Ultimate List Of 15 Asian Scientists To Watch – Shinya Yamanaka". AsianScientist.com. May 15, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
- Baker, M. (2007). "A Conversation with Shinya Yamanaka, Professor at Kyoto University". Nature Reports Stem Cells. doi:10.1038/stemcells.2007.9.
- "McEwen Award for Innovation". ISSCR. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- Stem cell scientist wins millennium technology prize. BBC.co.uk (June 13, 2012). Retrieved on 2012-10-08.
- "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012". NobelPrize.org. October 8, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
- "Meyenburg Cancer Research Award 2007 given to Dr. Shinya Yamanaka for the artificial generation of stem cells". German Cancer Research Center. November 23, 2007.
- "Meyenburg Cancer Research Award 2007 for artificial stem cell production". German Cancer Research Center. November 23, 2007.
- Tucker, Valerie (June 11, 2008). "Gladstone's Shinya Yamanaka Wins Prestigious Shaw Prize for Stem Cell Discoveries".
- "Gladstone's Shinya Yamanaka wins prestigious Shaw Prize". Bio-Medicine.org. June 11, 2008.
- "Professor Shinya Yamanaka Awarded the Shaw Prize". Kyoto University. June 17, 2008.
- "Professor Shinya Granted Sixth Sankyo Takamine Memorial Award". CiRA News Release. July 15, 2008.
- "Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Science".
- Shinya Yamanaka, Recipient of the Canada Gairdner International Award, 2009. gairdner.org
- BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award. Fbbva.es. Retrieved on 2012-10-08.
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