Osamu Shimomura

See also: Nobel Prize in Chemistry

下村 脩
Shimomura Osamu

(1928-08-27) August 27, 1928 (age 88)
Kyoto, Japan


Princeton University
Boston University School of Medicine
Marine Biological Laboratory

Alma mater
Nagasaki University
Nagoya University

Notable awards
Asahi Prize (2006)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2008)
Golden Goose Award (2012)

Osamu Shimomura (下村 脩, Shimomura Osamu?, born August 27, 1928) is a Japanese[2][3] 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 Diego.[4]


1 Biography
2 Study
3 Family
4 Honors
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 before the atom bomb exploded.[6] The explosion flash blinded Shimomura for about thirty seconds, and he was later drenched by the “black rain” bomb fallout.[7] He overcame great odds in the following 11 years to earn an education and achieve academic success.[5]
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 Sciences).[8] 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 rewards.[6] Shimomura was awarded a BS degree in pharmacy in 1951, and he stayed on as a lab assistant through 1955.[6]
Shimomura’s mentor at Nagasaki helped him find employment as an assistant to Professor Yoshimasa Hirata at Nagoya University in 1