The Gairdner Foundation is thrilled to learn about Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi being awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Phsiology or Medicine "for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy." Dr. Ohsumi is the 84th Gairdner laureate to go on to receive a Nobel Prize. Our President, Dr. Rossant discussed Dr. Ohsumi's work with the Globe and Mail explaining that it is one of the key areas of research for understanding disease.
More about the October 3rd announcement can be found on the Nobel website.
Gairdner gave Dr. Ohsumi the 2015 Canada Gairdner Interantional Award "for pioneering the molecular elucidation of autophagy, an essential intracellular, degradation system and when disordered, is linked to many diseases including neurodegeneration, cancer, and infection.”
His work: He was the first person to visually observe the function of autophagy (self-eating), whereby cells clean up the garbage within them by killing invaders and keeping healthy cells. It works as a cell recycling system to maintain homeostasis within the body. He then clarified the mechanism of autophagy and the genes involved.
His impact: Autophagy is now regarded as a vital cell-recycling system and may aid in future developments to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and other age-related diseases. Dr. Ohsumi’s research findings have since been applied to autophagy in animals as well, and many researchers are now working to further clarify the molecular mechanism and physiological significance of this process