Japanese Scientist Wins 2012 Kyoto Prize For Autophagy Research

The 28th Annual Kyoto Prize was awarded to an American computer scientist, a U.S.-based Indian literary critic, and a Japanese biologist on Saturday.

AsianScientist (Nov. 12, 2012) – The 28th Annual Kyoto Prize was presented by the Inamori Foundation to an American computer scientist, a U.S.-based Indian literary critic, and a Japanese biologist during a formal ceremony in Kyoto, Japan on Saturday.

Each laureate received a 20-karat gold Kyoto Prize medal, a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately US$630,000), and a diploma in recognition of lifelong contributions to society.

Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese molecular cell biologist, received the Basic Sciences Prize in the field of Life Science. Dr. Ohsumi, 67, discovered the molecular mechanisms and physiological significance of autophagy, demonstrating how a cell degrades its own proteins in order to adapt to nutritional deficiency or other environmental influences. Dr. Ohsumi is currently a professor at the Frontier Research Center of the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, an Indian literary critic and educator, was honored with the Arts and Philosophy Prize in the field of Thought and Ethics. Prof. Spivak, 70, is a University Professor at Columbia University, where she founded the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Her work often focuses on those marginalized by globalization, and she is best known for the essay, “Can the Subaltern Speak?,” which spotlights those who are economically dispossessed and rendered without agency by their social status.

Dr. Ivan Edward Sutherland, 74, an American computer scientist regarded as the “Father of Computer Graphics,” was awarded the Advanced Technology Prize in the field of Information Science. Dr. Sutherland’s early achievements include creating Sketchpad in 1963, which served as a conceptual progenitor to today’s “graphical user interface” in everything from smartphones to computer workstations.

The non-profit Inamori Foundation was established in 1984 by Japanese business leader Dr. Kazuo Inamori. To date, the prize has honored 90 individuals and one not-for-profit enterprise (The Nobel Foundation), collectively representing 15 nations.

Seven Kyoto Prize winners have subsequently been recognized with the Nobel Prize, including the 2012 Nobel recipient in Physiology or Medicine, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka (2010 Kyoto Prize laureate in Advanced Technology).


Source: Inamori Foundation.
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