Prof. Nobutaka Hirokawa (The University of Tokyo) Plenary Lecture on OIST Workshop
Professor Hirokawa received his M.D. in 1971 and his Ph.D. in 1978 from The University of Tokyo in Japan. He did is postdoc at the University of California, San Francisco and worked as a research Assistant Professor and Associate Professor at Washington University. Upon returning to Japan, he was appointed Professor and Chairman of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Tokyo, where he served as the Dean from 2003 to 2007. He now holds a position as Distinguished Project Professor at the same institution.
Professor Hirokawa is world famous for his research on molecular transport. In particular, he contributed greatly to the mechanistic characterization of the kinesin superfamily of molecular motors. Among other things, he discovered 45 genes of the kinesin superfamily and characterized the mechanisms of directional transport of various cargos including synaptic vesicle precursors, mitochondria, receptors, and mRNAs. He described the mechanisms of recognition, loading and unloading of cargoes and how the direction of transport is determined.