Professor Daisuke Uemura of the Graduate School of Science and Professor Gen Sobue of the Graduate School of Medicine have received the 60th Chunichi Cultural Prize.
The Chunichi Cultural Prize is presented by the Chunichi Shimbun to people and groups in the Chubu region with outstanding cultural achievements.
Professor Uemura received the prize for his work on bio-organic chemical research on natural marine products. In particular, he discovered the antineoplastic substance halichondrin B from halichondria, and the deadly poison palytoxin, an organic substance possessed by zoanthids, and clarified their molecular structures. Upon receiving the award, Professor Uemura noted the possibility of researching organic compounds in the natural world, and stated that "There are many unexplained biological phenomena remaining in the natural world. A new science may yet emerge from related natural products".
Professor Gen Sobue received the award for his research on treatments to inhibit neurodegenerative diseases. He explained the structure of how neurodegenerative diseases start at the molecular level, showed how to inhibit the progress of diseases using drugs such as those used in treating cancer, and explained the outlook for molecular target therapy. In particular, he conducted clinical trials for spinobulbular muscular atrophy, one type of neurodegenerative disease. Upon receiving the award, Professor Sobue noted that "We must believe that drugs that inhibit neurodegenerative diseases will help improve patients' symptoms, and continue to research and test on this subject in the future".
The award ceremony took place on Wednesday, May 30th, 2007, at the Chunichi Palace.