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Osamu Shimomura

osamu shimomura, osamu shimomura nobel prize
Osamu Shimomura 下村 脩, Shimomura Osamu, born August 27, 1928 is a Japanese23 organic chemist and marine biologist, and Professor Emeritus at Marine Biological Laboratory MBL in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and Boston University School of Medicine He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008 for the discovery and development of green fluorescent protein GFP with two American scientists: Martin Chalfie of Columbia University and Roger Tsien of the University of California-San Diego4


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Study
  • 3 Family
  • 4 Honors and awards
  • 5 Publications
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 Sources


Born in Fukuchiyama, Kyoto in 1928, Shimomura was brought up in Manchukuo Manchuria, China and Osaka, Japan while his father served as an officer in the Imperial Japanese Army Later, his family moved to Isahaya, Nagasaki,5 25 km from the epicenter of the August 1945 atomic bombing of the city He recalls hearing, as a 16-year-old boy, the bomber plane Bockscar before the atom bomb exploded6 The explosion flash blinded Shimomura for about thirty seconds, and he was later drenched by the "black rain" bomb fallout7 He overcame great odds in the following 11 years to earn an education and achieve academic success5

Shimomura's education opportunities were starkly limited in devastated, post-war Japan Although he later recalled having no interest in the subject,6 he enrolled in the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Nagasaki Medical College now Nagasaki University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences8 The Medical College campus had been entirely destroyed by the atomic bomb blast, forcing the pharmacy school to relocate to a temporary campus near Shimomura's home This proximity was the fortuitous reason he embarked upon the studies and career which would ultimately lead to unanticipated rewards6 Shimomura was awarded a BS degree in pharmacy in 1951, and he stayed on as a lab assistant through 19556

Shimomura's mentor at Nagasaki helped him find employment as an assistant to Professor Yoshimasa Hirata at Nagoya University in 19568 While working for Professor Hirata, he received a MS degree in organic chemistry in 1958 and, before leaving Japan for an appointment at Princeton University, a PhD in organic chemistry in 1960 at Nagoya University910 At Nagoya, Hirata assigned Shimomura the challenging task of determining what made the crushed remains of a type of crustacean Jp umi-hotaru, lit "sea-firefly", Vargula hilgendorfii glow when moistened with water This assignment led Shimomura to the successful identification of the protein causing the phenomenon, and he published the preliminary findings in the Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Japan in a paper titled "Crystalline Cypridina luciferin" The article caught the attention of Professor Frank Johnson at Princeton University, and Johnson successfully recruited Shimomura to work with him in 1960


Shimomura worked in the Department of Biology at Princeton for Professor Johnson to study the jellyfish11 Aequorea victoria, which they collected during many summers at the Friday Harbor Laboratories of the University of Washington In 1962, their work culminated in the discovery of the proteins aequorin and green fluorescent protein GFP in the small, mouse-sized umbrella-shaped bioluminescent jellyfish Aequorea victoria;12 for this work, he was awarded a third of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008


His wife, Akemi, whom Shimomura met at Nagasaki University, is also an organic chemist and a partner in his research activities Their son, Tsutomu Shimomura, is a computer security expert who was involved in the arrest of Kevin Mitnick Their daughter, Sachi Shimomura, is director of Undergraduate Studies for the English Department at Virginia Commonwealth University and the author of Odd Bodies and Visible Ends in Medieval Literature

Honors and awardsedit

  • 2004 - Pearse Prize, Royal Microscopical Society13
  • 2005 - Emile Chamot Award14
  • 2006 - Asahi Prize
  • 2008 - Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • 2008 - Order of Culture15
  • 2008 - Person of Cultural Merit
  • 2012 - Golden Goose Award16
  • 2013 - Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences


  • Bioluminescence: Chemical Principles and Methods Revised Edition WSPC 2012 ISBN 978-981-4366-08-317

See alsoedit

  • Japan portal
  • Biography portal
  • Chemistry portal
  • List of Japanese Nobel laureates


  1. ^ "Osamu Shimomura" Nndbcom Retrieved 2008-10-10 
  2. ^ The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008
  3. ^ 「やり始めたら、やめたらダメよ」下村さん、子たちへAsahi Shimbun Shimomura said "I'm Japanese I don't think I need to be an American" Although he is affiliated with American universities Google translate
  4. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008" The Official Web Site of the Nobel Foundation Retrieved 2008-11-04 
  5. ^ a b Aglow in the Dark: The Revolutionary Science of Biofluorescence
  6. ^ a b c d Nobelprizeorg: Nobel laureate lecture December 8, 2008
  7. ^ "Osamu Shimomura The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008 Interview" The Official Web Site of the Nobel Foundation Retrieved 2009-01-12 
  8. ^ a b Woods Hole cell biologist wins Nobel Prize
  9. ^ "Former Associate Professor Osamu Shimomura Wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry" Nagoya university Retrieved 2008-12-05 dead link
  10. ^ "下村脩先生が2008年ノーベル化学賞をご受賞" Nagoya University Retrieved 2008-12-05 
  11. ^ Nobel goes to former Princeton researcher for discovery made here
  12. ^ "GFP History" Marc Zimmer Retrieved 2008-12-09 
  13. ^ "About the Pearse Prize" Royal Microscopical Society Retrieved 10 June 2016 
  14. ^ "Emile Chamot Award Recipient" State Microscopical Society of Illinois Retrieved 2008-12-09 
  15. ^ "Donald Keene, 7 others win Order of Culture," Yomiuri Shimbun October 29, 2008
  16. ^ "Green Fluorescent Protein" The Golden Goose Award Retrieved 2015-05-27 
  17. ^ Bioluminescence: Chemical Principles and Methods Revised Edition Website


  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2008

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