Congratulations to Yoshinori Ohsumi, of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on autophagy, the process by which a cell “recycles its content,” and his identification of genes responsible for this process.
Dr. Ohsumi’s research has shown how “self-eating” in cells provides them with the energy and components necessary to renew themselves, helping organisms resist starvation, among other types of stress. Autophagy also helps cells to fight infections and prevent the negative consequences of aging.
Parkinson’s, cancer, and type 2 diabetes were later linked to disruptions in autophagy, leading scientists to target this process in order to develop treatments for these diseases.
Read Dr. Ohsumi’s articles on autophagy for the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology and the Annual Review of Biochemistry.