Born: 1945, Fukuoka, Japan
Affiliation at the time of the award: Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan
Prize motivation: "for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy"
Prize share: 1/1
The word autophagy originates from the Greek words auto-, meaning "self", and phagein, meaning "to eat". Thus,autophagy denotes "self eating". This concept emerged during the 1960's, when researchers first observed that the cell could destroy its own contents by enclosing it in membranes, forming sack-like vesicles that were transported to a recycling compartment, called the lysosome, for degradation.