Prizes & Awards

Tatsuya Tsukahara is awarded the GE & Science prize for young life scientists

  • Hiroyuki Takeda (Professor, Department of Biological Sciences)
Figure 1

Tatsuya Tsukahara
(Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences)

The GE & Science prize for young life scientists, which is co-supported by GE Healthcare and the journal "Science," is an international prize for young life scientists. Awardees are selected from 4 areas: North America, Europe, Asia, and other countries. Tatsuya Tsukahara received the prize as a winner from Asia, and his essay is posted on the online "Science": http://www.sciencemag.org/site/feature/data/prizes/ge/2011/tsukahara.xhtml

As a doctoral student at the Department of Biophysics and Biochemstry of the Graduate School of Science, Tsukahara worked on chromosome segregation (Yoshinori Watanabe Lab., Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, the University of Tokyo), and elucidated the fact that the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK), known as the master regulator of cell cycle progression, ensures a precise chromosome segregation by promoting the proper attachment between chromosomes and spindle microtubules (T. Tsukahara et al, Nature 467, 719 (2010)).

In addition to the above, Tsukahara proved that these mechanisms, that are clarified by fission yeast, are present in human cells, too. As a result of this, a new role of the CDK in chromosome segregation was elucidated. As it is well-known that the misregulation of CDK is the key factor for cells to turn cancerous, it is possible that this finding showed one of the cell canceration routes. Application of this knowledge to anti cancer drug development is expected from now on. Tsukahara was also awarded the Inoue Research Award for Young Scientists in 2011 and his research achievements are highly rated both in Japan and overseas.

Tsukahara is now conducting research on subjects such as epigenetic gene expression control mechanisms in the development process of vertebrates at the Department of Biological Sciences, and we expect his continued success.