Nobel Prize Physiology / Medicine 2016

03 October 2016

Yoshinori Ohsumi

for his discoveries about autophagy using yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism

Quotes from an interview with Ohsumi for the Chicago Tribune:

The Karolinska Institute’s decision to award Ohsumi the Nobel Prize honors his study of autophagy, a fundamental type of research in biology. However, he has been concerned about less-than-satisfactory progress in basic research due to a widespread tendency to attach importance only to the results of applied research.

Ohsumi has emphasized the importance of studying microorganisms, including yeast cells. His study of yeast cells, which are easy to observe, helped earn him the Nobel Prize. “Applied research is never unrelated to fundamental studies,” he said.

Ohsumi reiterated his long-held opinion, saying, “I hope young people take on various challenges, believing things will somehow work out.” However, he pointed to the difficulty young scientists have in being promoted to higher positions, including that of professor, if they continue with basic research such as the study of yeast. “Supporting [young researchers] requires contriving ways and means, and I’d like to make efforts [to attain this],” he said.

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