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Nobel Prize-winning scientist number five to deliver free lecture at DMU


A Nobel Prize-winning scientist who unlocked the secrets behind a process now seen as the means to reducing the likelihood of contracting some diseases, as well as prolonging lives, is to deliver a lecture at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2016 after discovering the mechanisms of autophagy – a natural regeneration process that occurs in body cells.

 NOBEL PRIZE main pic

His initial research using yeast is giving the scientific world a better understanding of diseases such as Parkinson’s, dementia and cancer, while companies and academics are looking to manufacture drugs that will stimulate the autophagy process.

Millions of people also follow diet and wellness experts who claim the process can be induced naturally by fasting, high-intensity exercise and restricting carbohydrates.

Professor Ohsumi accepted an invitation to deliver an online lecture for DMU from Parvez Haris, Professor of Biomedical Science. Professor Ohsumi is the fifth Nobel Laureate to speak at DMU in the last four years.


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Professor Haris has previously likened bringing Nobel Prize winners to speak to students and staff at DMU to having football legends Messi or Ronaldo address the DMU sports teams.

He said: “We are having the world’s greatest scientists delivering lectures at DMU and not only that but students and staff can ask them questions about their research.

“It’s quite incredible really and an opportunity people will probably not experience again in their lifetime.

“I hope this lecture will inspire the next generation of scientists and instil in them a passion that might just start them on a journey of discovery which could have an impact on the world.

“The lecture is open to everybody and I hope the wider community also gets involved. It is vital that DMU engages with the community and shares these experiences.”

Professor Ohsumi was born in 1945 in Fukuoka, Japan.  He studied at the University of Tokyo where he obtained his PhD degree in 1974 and carried out postdoctoral research at Rockefeller University in New York.


Professor Ohsumi returned to the University of Tokyo where he started his research on understanding how cell components are degraded and recycled.  He moved to the National Institute for Basic Biology in Okazaki in 1996.  He is currently based at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and one of his scientific collaborators is his wife Mariko Ohsumi.

Professor Ohsumi’s online lecture is titled “Autophagy – a cellular recycling system essential for life” and runs from 9am to 10.10am on Thursday 14 October.

Register your place at the lecture here 

Previous Nobel Prize-winning lecturers at DMU were Sir Professor Paul Nurse, who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology in 2001, Sir Professor Gregory Winter, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2018, Sir Professor Richard Henderson FRS, of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the University of Cambridge, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2017 and Sir Richard John Roberts who was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Posted on Thursday 9th September 2021

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