Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his findings on a process known as autophagy. Autophagy is the process by which cells recycle their content. Cells use autophagy to destroy invading viruses and bacteria, to get rid of damaged structures, and to break down proteins in order to reuse them for energy. Dr. Ohsumi was able to make his discoveries by studying cell components in yeast.
Because if Dr. Ohsumi’s work, the field of autophagy has exploded, leading to developments of new drugs that could help to stimulate the system, preventing ailments such as cardiovascular disease, skeletal weakness, and gluten intolerance. Dr. David H. Perimutter of the School of Medicine at Washington University stated that drugs like these could make an “organism live longer in a cancer-free way”.
After he had been awarded the Nobel, Dr. Ohsumi told reporters that he would “like to tell young people that not all can be successful in science, but it’s important to rise to the challenge”. Dr. Ohsumi himself had trouble in his early years after receiving his PhD. finding a place for himself within the industry, but he came to find his place, and now holds a Nobel Prize. His research has given “light to the people who suffer from serious diseases”.
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