© The Nobel Foundation. Photo: U. Montan
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008
Born: 27 August 1928, Kyoto, Japan
Died: 19 October 2018, Nagasaki, Japan
Affiliation at the time of the award: Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole, MA, USA, Boston University Medical School, Massachusetts, MA, USA
Prize motivation: "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP."
Prize share: 1/3
Some organisms produce what has been named Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), which emits a shimmering light. The formation of GFP is regulated by a gene that can be incorporated into the genomes of other organisms. Because GFP can be linked to other proteins thanks to genetic engineering, it has become an important tool for studying biological processes in cells. The first steps in achieving this were taken by Osamu Shimamura, who isolated GFP from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria in the 1960s and found that the protein glowed green when illuminated with ultraviolet light.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.