Susumu Tonegawa

Sole winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine

About the speaker

Dr Tonegawa is the sole winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1987 for “his discovery of the genetic principle for generation of antibody diversity". He has since been making seminal contributions in neuroscience. His recent studies conducted by combining molecular genetic and optogenetic technology have revolutionised memory research, and were recognised in 2014 by a Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award and as one of The Top 10 Discoveries by the journal Science.
Tonegawa received his BSc from Kyoto University in Chemistry and his PhD from University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in Molecular Biology. He completed his postdoctoral work at the Salk Institute in San Diego in Molecular Biology, before working at the Basel Institute for Immunology in Basel, Switzerland.
Tonegawa is a member of the US National Academy of Science. He is also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Tonegawa has gained much international recognition, being awarded the Order of Culture, the highest honour bestowed by the Emperor of Japan for culture and science, the Lasker Award granted by the Lasker Foundation in the US, the International Award granted by Canada’s Gairdner Foundation, the Rabbi Shai Shackni Memorial Prize in Immunology, and the Robert Koch Prize granted by the Koch Foundation of Germany.

About the lecture: How Do We Form, Store and Retrieve Memories?

Throughout the history of mankind, human beings have been fascinated by memory — how do we form, store, and recall memories? How do we lose them? At this lecture, Dr Susumu Tonegawa also discussed how his recent studies, conducted by combining molecular genetic and optogenetic technology, have revolutionised memory research.

More about the speaker and his work

Susumu Tonegawa on Heading World-Class Brain Research Institutes
In an interview with Lasker Foundation, Professor Tonegawa shares his experience on leading brain research institutes at MIT and in Japan. 

Neuroscientists Identify Brain Circuit That Encodes Timing of Events
Along with a team of researchers, Professor Tonegawa identified a hippocampal circuit that helps us to maintain our timeline of memories, which suggests that time and space are encoded separately.