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Nakanishi Prize Awarded To Takeshi Yasumoto

February 27, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 9

Takeshi Yasumoto, professor emeritus at Tohoku University, has been awarded the 2006 Nakanishi Prize for his "contribution to the chemistry of seafood poisonings and analytical study on dynamism of the causative toxic molecules among marine ecology."

The prize recognizes work that extends chemical and spectroscopic methods to the study of important biological phenomena. Winners are selected by ACS and the Chemical Society of Japan in alternate years.

Yasumoto's research accomplishments include the elucidation of the structures of ciguatoxin and maitotoxin, two toxins involved in a type of fish poisoning. He also identified dinoflagellates, a class of phytoplankton, as the producer of the toxins. Furthermore, he has shown that tetrodotoxin in pufferfish is a bacterial product.

Since retiring from Tohoku University in 1998, Yasumoto has been serving as a technical consultant to Japan Food Research Laboratories. He is also a research director of a government program called "Collaboration of Regional Entities for the Advancement of Technological Excellence" in Okinawa, his home since 2002.

Yashumoto has received several national and international awards, including the Paul J. Scheuer Award for Marine Natural Products Chemistry, the Purple Ribbon Medal from the government of Japan, and the Imperial Prize from the Japan Academy.


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