Satoshi Ōmura

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Satoshi Ōmura

Satoshi Omura 5040-2015.jpg

Satoshi Ōmura, Nobel Laureate in medicine in Stockholm December 2015
Native name大村 智
Born (1935-07-12) 12 July 1935 (age 82)
Nirasaki, Yamanashi, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Alma mater University of Yamanashi
Tokyo University of Science (M.S., Sc. D.)
University of Tokyo (Ph.D.)
Known for Avermectin and Ivermectin
Discoveries more than 480 new compounds
Awards Japan Academy Prize (1990)
Koch Gold Medal (1997)
Gairdner Global Health Award (2014)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2015)
Scientific career
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions Kitasato University
Wesleyan University
Academic advisors Koji Nakanishi
Max Tishler

Satoshi Ōmura [satoɕi oːmu͍ɽa] (大村 智,Ōmura Satoshi, born 12 July 1935) is a Japanese biochemist. He is known for the discovery and development of various pharmaceuticals originally occurring in microorganisms. In 2015, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with William C. Campbell and Tu Youyou.

Biochemist Scientist specialized in biochemistry

Biochemists are scientists that are trained in biochemistry.

Microorganism microscopic living organism

A microorganism, or microbe, is a microscopic organism, which may exist in its single-celled form or in a colony of cells.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine One of five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, administered by the Nobel Foundation, is awarded yearly for outstanding discoveries in the fields of life sciences and medicine. It is one of five Nobel Prizes established in his will in 1895 by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Nobel was interested in experimental physiology and wanted to establish a prize for scientific progress through laboratory discoveries. The Nobel Prize is presented at an annual ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death, along with a diploma and a certificate for the monetary award. The front side of the medal displays the same profile of Alfred Nobel depicted on the medals for Physics, Chemistry, and Literature. The reverse side is unique to this medal. The most recent Nobel prize was announced by Karolinska Institute on 1 October 2018, and has been awarded to American James P. Allison and Japanese Tasuku Honjo – for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.


Early life and education

Satoshi Ōmura was born in Nirasaki, Yamanashi, Japan, in 1935, the second son of Ōmura family. After graduating from the University of Yamanashi in 1958, he was appointed to science teacher at Tokyo Metropolitan Sumida Tech High School. In 1960, he became an auditor of Koji Nakanishi’s course at Tokyo University of Education, one year later, he enrolled in the Tokyo University of Science (TUS) and studied sciences. Ōmura received his M.S. degree from TUS and his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Tokyo (1968) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry at TUS (1970). [1]

Nirasaki, Yamanashi City in Chūbu, Japan

Nirasaki is a city in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.

University of Yamanashi Higher education institution in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan

The University of Yamanashi, abbreviated to Nashidai (梨大), is a university that has campuses in Kofu and Chūō, Japan. The University of Yamanashi has its origin in “Kitenkan” which was founded in 1795 as a branch school of “Shoheizaka-School” of Tokugawa Government and was developed to the Normal School of Yamanashi after the Meiji Restoration. In 1921 the Normal School of Yamanashi for Junior and in 1924 the Yamanashi High School of Engineering were established. After the World War II these three schools were integrated to the University of Yamanashi according to the new school system of Japan. In 1978 the Yamanashi Medical University was opened which was only a Medical University in Prefecture of Yamanashi. Today’s University of Yamanashi was founded in 2002 by a merger between (former) University of Yamanashi and Yamanashi Medical University. It is formally referred to as the National university corporation, University of Yamanashi. In 2012 the Faculty of Education and Human science and the Faculty of Engineering were reorganized and the Faculty of Life and Environmental Science was newly established. In 2016 the lifelong studies course in the Faculty of Education and Human science was abolished, and the faculty was renamed to the Faculty of Education.

Koji Nakanishi a bioorganic and natural products chemist, is Centennial Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and former Chairman of the Chemistry Department, Columbia University.


Since 1965 Ōmura served at Kitasato Institute system. [2] From 1970 to 1990, he also became a part-time lecturer at Tokyo University of Science. [3]

Tokyo University of Science university

Tokyo University of Science, formerly "Science University of Tokyo" or TUS, informally Rikadai (理科大) or simply Ridai (理大) is a private research university located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.

In 1971, he was a visiting professor at Wesleyan University, [2] he consulted the chairman of the American Chemical Society, Max Tishler, at the a Canadian international conference. Finally, they succeeded in acquiring research expenses from Merck & Co. . [4]

Wesleyan University private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut

Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut. Founded in 1831, Wesleyan is a baccalaureate college that emphasizes undergraduate instruction in the arts and sciences, grants research master's degrees in many academic disciplines, and grants PhD degrees in biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer science, molecular biology and biochemistry, music, and physics.

American Chemical Society American scientific society

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a scientific society based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry. Founded in 1876 at New York University, the ACS currently has nearly 157,000 members at all degree levels and in all fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related fields. It is the world's largest scientific society by membership. The ACS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code. Its headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., and it has a large concentration of staff in Columbus, Ohio.

Max Tishler American chemist

Max Tishler (October 30, 1906 – March 18, 1989) was president of Merck Sharp and Dohme Research Laboratories where he led the research teams that synthesized ascorbic acid, riboflavin, cortisone, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, nicotinamide, methionine, threonine, and tryptophan. He also developed the fermentation processes for actinomycin, vitamin B12, streptomycin, and penicillin. Tishler invented sulfaquinoxaline for the treatment for coccidiosis.

Ōmura was considering continuing his research in the United States, but he ultimately decided to move back to Japan. In 1973, he became a director of the antibiotic laboratory at Kitasato University, [5] and he also started collaborative research with Merck & Co. . [6] In 1975, he became professor of Kitasato University School of Pharmacy. Meanwhile, the Ōmura laboratory raised many researchers and produced 31 university professors and 120 doctors.

Kitasato University Higher education institution in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan

Kitasato University is a private university in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. The head of the university is on the Shirokane campus, neighboring the Kitasato Institute.

At present date, Ōmura is professor emeritus at Kitasato University and Max Tishler Professor of Chemistry at Wesleyan University.


Satoshi Ōmura is known for the discovery and development of various pharmaceuticals originally occurring in microorganisms. He was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with William C. Campbell and Tu Youyou for discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites. More precisely, his research group isolated a strain of Streptomyces avermitilis that produce the anti-parasitical compound avermectin. Campbell later acquired these bacteria and developed the derived drug ivermectin that is today used against river blindness, lymphatic filariasis and other parasitic infections. [1] [7] [8]

William C. Campbell (scientist) Irish biochemist

William Cecil Campbell is an Irish and American biologist and parasitologist known for his work in discovering a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworms, for which he was jointly awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He helped to discover a class of drugs called avermectins, whose derivatives have been shown to have "extraordinary efficacy" in treating River blindness and Lymphatic filariasis, among other parasitic diseases affecting animals and humans. Campbell worked at the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research 1957–1990, and is currently a research fellow emeritus at Drew University.

Nematode phylum of animals with tubular digestive systems with openings at both ends

The nematodes or roundworms constitute the phylum Nematoda. They are a diverse animal phylum inhabiting a broad range of environments. Taxonomically, they are classified along with insects and other moulting animals in the clade Ecdysozoa, and unlike flatworms, have tubular digestive systems with openings at both ends.

Parasitism Interaction between two organisms living together in more or less intimate association in a relationship in which association is disadvantageous or destructive to one of the organisms

In evolutionary biology, parasitism is a relationship between species, where one organism, the parasite, lives on or in another organism, the host, causing it some harm, and is adapted structurally to this way of life. The entomologist E. O. Wilson has characterised parasites as "predators that eat prey in units of less than one". Parasites include protozoans such as the agents of malaria, sleeping sickness, and amoebic dysentery; animals such as hookworms, lice, mosquitoes, and vampire bats; fungi such as honey fungus and the agents of ringworm; and plants such as mistletoe, dodder, and the broomrapes. There are six major parasitic strategies of exploitation of animal hosts, namely parasitic castration, directly transmitted parasitism, trophically transmitted parasitism, vector-transmitted parasitism, parasitoidism, and micropredation.

Since 1970s, Ōmura discoveries more than 480 new compounds, there are 25 kinds of drugs and reagents in use, such as a specific inhibitor of protein kinase: staurosporine, a proteasome inhibitor: lactacystin, a fatty acid biosynthesis inhibitor: cerulenin, and andrastin, herbimycin, neoxaline, and so on, which have greatly contributed to the elucidation of life phenomena. Furthermore, compounds having a unique structure and biological activity discovered by Omura are drawing attention as lead compounds in drug discovery research, and new anticancer drugs and the like have been created.

A Children's statues leading to adults of onchocerciasis before Kitasato University buildings were produced by sculptors of Burkina Faso in honor of Ōmura's contributions of avermectin and ivermectin, a symbol of the campaign to eradicate onchocerciasis, [9] the similar life-sized Bronze statue is built in World Health Organization (WHO) Headquarters, Carter Center, Merck & Co., World Bank Headquarters, and Burkina Faso's World Health Organization Africa Onchocerciasis Control Program.

Social role

Ōmura served as deputy director and director at the Kitasato Institute, he was devoted to rebuild the laboratory and promoting the establishment of the medical center (now Kitasato University Medical Center). Meanwhile, he establishing a path to rebuilding of the corporate (school juridical person), it has integrated with the School corporation Kitasato Gakuen and has succeeded in establishing a new "School corporation Kitasato Institute". In addition, in the education field, he served as president of the School corporation Joshibi University of Art and Design twice, and served as the honorary school chief of the School corporation Kaichi Gakuen. [10] In 2007, he established the Nirasaki Omura Art Museum on his collection. [11]

Awards and honors

Satoshi Omura (left) and William C. Campbell (right) in Stockholm, December 2015. Satoshi Omura 4977-2015.jpg
Satoshi Ōmura (left) and William C. Campbell (right) in Stockholm, December 2015.

List of honorary doctorate: [16]

Learned societies membership


See also

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Onchocerciasis Human helminthiasis

Onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness, is a disease caused by infection with the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus. Symptoms include severe itching, bumps under the skin, and blindness. It is the second-most common cause of blindness due to infection, after trachoma.

Filariasis Parasitic disease caused by a family of nematode worms

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Ivermectin pharmaceutical drug

Ivermectin is a medication used to treat many types of parasite infestations. This includes head lice, scabies, river blindness (onchocerciasis), strongyloidiasis, trichuriasis, and lymphatic filariasis. It can be taken by mouth or applied to the skin for external infestations. Use in the eyes should be avoided.

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The avermectins are a series of drugs and pesticides used to treat parasitic worms and insect pests. They are a 16-membered macrocyclic lactone derivatives with potent anthelmintic and insecticidal properties. These naturally occurring compounds are generated as fermentation products by Streptomyces avermitilis, a soil actinomycete. Eight different avermectins were isolated in four pairs of homologue compounds, with a major (a-component) and minor (b-component) component usually in ratios of 80:20 to 90:10. Other anthelmintics derived from the avermectins include ivermectin, selamectin, doramectin, and abamectin.

Osamu Shimomura Japanese organic chemist and marine biologist

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Kitasato Shibasaburō Japanese scientist

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Emamectin chemical compound

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Streptomyces avermitilis is a bacterium species in the genus Streptomyces.

Yoshinori Ohsumi Japanese molecular biologist

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Tasuku Honjo Japanese immunologist, Nobel Laureate

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  1. 1 2 "Satoshi Omura PhD" . Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  2. 1 2 大村智北里研究所顧問・北里大学名誉教授が文化功労者に 北里大学 2012年11月1日
  3. [from ストックホルム「これからは人材の育成に努力します」大村先生が語った受賞後の活動]TUSToday 2015.12.18
  4. 「人間発見」日本経済新聞2010年7月14日
  5. 「【ノーベル賞受賞】大村智氏、常識破りの発想で治療薬開発 」 産経ニュース2015.10.5
  6. 「 新しい微生物創薬の世界を切り開く 」 JT
  8. "Japanese microbiologist Satoshi Omura shares Nobel Prize for medicine". The Japan Times. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  9. 新しい微生物創薬の世界を切り開く | サイエンティスト・ライブラリー | JT生命誌研究館
  10. "大村先生". 開智学園高等部. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  11. "韮崎大村美術館 館長あいさつ 大村智". 韮崎大村美術館. Archived from the original on 2015-10-15. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Satoshi Ōmura. "Satoshi Ōmura Curriculum Vitae" (PDF).
  13. "Robert Koch Gold Medal". Robert-Koch-Stiftung e.V. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  14. 【政府】11年「春の叙勲」‐森田氏に旭重、大村氏が瑞重 薬事日報 2011年6月20日
  17. List of Members | Prof. Dr. Dr. Satoshi Ōmura
  18. Member Directory | Satoshi Omura
  19. Japan Academy membership profile
  20. Académie des sciences membership profile