Yoshinori Ohsumi

Yoshinori Ohsumi Biography

Posted by | Vishnu Das on | May 13, 2024

Date of Birth

9 / February / 1945


79 Years


Cell Biologist

Yoshinori Ohsumi, known by his full name 大隅 良典 Ōsumi Yoshinori, is a distinguished cell biologist renowned for his groundbreaking research in autophagy. Born on February 9, 1945, in Japan, Ohsumi’s contributions to science have earned him international acclaim, including the prestigious Nobel Prize.

Yoshinori Ohsumi Age, Wife, Children, Family, Biography, & More

He received the Fujihara Award from the Fujihara Foundation of Science in 2005 and the Japan Academy Prize from the Japan Academy in 2006. Ohsumi’s pioneering work has significantly advanced our understanding of cellular processes, particularly autophagy, shedding light on its crucial role in maintaining cellular health and combating disease.

Early Life

Yoshinori Ohsumi’s early life was marked by health struggles, as he was a weak child prone to frequent illness. Born into a family where his mother battled tuberculosis shortly after his birth, he gained early exposure to antibiotics like streptomycin and aureomycin. Despite these challenges, his mother’s eventual recovery when he was eight provided a turning point. Growing up, his interest in the natural world was evident as he spent time catching fish, planting seeds, and collecting insects.


Yoshinori Ohsumi studied at The University of Tokyo for his Bachelor of Science degree and Doctor of Science in Physiology. He further pursued his doctorate at Rockefeller University in New York.


Yoshinori Ohsumi was born on February 9, 1945, in Fukuoka, Japan, which makes him 79 years old as of 2024. His zodiac sign is Aquarius, and he holds Japanese nationality.

Physical Stats

Yoshinori Ohsumi’s eye color is black, while his hair color is gray. Unfortunately, his body measurements are not publicly known.

Wife and Children

Yoshinori Ohsumi is married to Mariko Nakazawa, who is also a researcher. They tied the knot in 1971 and have two sons together.


Yoshinori Ohsumi is the son of Yoshio, a professor of mining engineering at Kyushu University, and Shina, a homemaker. He has an elder brother named Kazuo and two elder sisters named Reiko and Junko.

Yoshinori Ohsumi Family Picture

Yoshinori Ohsumi Family Picture

Yoshinori Ohsumi with his wife Mariko Nakazawa

Yoshinori Ohsumi with his wife Mariko Nakazawa


Yoshinori Ohsumi’s illustrious career in cell biology began with his doctoral studies at Kyoto University, where he delved into research on colicin E3, an interest that paved the way for his groundbreaking contributions. He further honed his expertise during his time at the University of Tokyo, completing his PhD and subsequently embarking on a research journey at Rockefeller University in New York.

There, he investigated the intricate mechanisms of DNA replication initiation in yeast, a pivotal project that propelled him into the scientific spotlight. Ohsumi’s return to Japan saw him assume various academic roles, including assistant professorships and prestigious professorial appointments at institutions like the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Throughout his career, his groundbreaking discoveries and prolific publications solidified his status as a pioneering figure in the field of cell biology.

Net Worth

Yoshinori Ohsumi’s net worth is not publicly disclosed.

Some Lesser Known Facts About Yoshinori Ohsumi

  • Yoshinori Ohsumi performed experiments under Akio Maeda, focusing on the role of ribosome subunits in protein synthesis.
  • During his college years, Ohsumi actively participated in several demonstrations related to social causes.
  • While pursuing his doctoral studies at Kyoto University, he developed an interest in colicin E3, which has the ability to pass through the membrane of bacterial cells and inhibit protein synthesis.
  • It was during his time at Kyoto University that he first met his future wife, Mariko.
  • Ohsumi later continued his academic journey at the University of Tokyo, where he completed his PhD.
  • In 1974, Ohsumi joined the laboratory of G. M. Edelman at Rockefeller University in New York, USA, focusing on cell biology. His wife, Mariko, also joined the same university under Norton Zinder’s laboratory.
  • While at Rockefeller University, Ohsumi worked on a project investigating the mechanism of DNA replication initiation in yeast, which led to his discovery of highly purified vacuoles under a microscope.
  • Upon returning to Japan in December 1977, Ohsumi worked as an assistant professor in Yasuhiro Anraku’s laboratory at Tokyo University’s Faculty of Science.
  • Over time, Ohsumi released several groundbreaking papers, establishing himself as a leading pioneer in his field.
  • In 2009, he became a specially appointed professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
  • Additionally, he assumed the role of an emeritus professor at both the National Institute for Basic Biology and the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in 2009.
  • Finally, in 2014, he became a Professor at the Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology.
  • Yoshinori Ohsumi faced health challenges as a weak child and often fell ill during his early years.
  • His mother battled tuberculosis shortly after his birth, which led him to learn about antibiotics such as streptomycin and aureomycin at a young age.
  • Fortunately, his mother fully recovered when he was eight years old. At the age of twelve, his elder brother pursued studies in literature at the University of Tokyo.

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Body Measurements Not Known
Birth Place Fukuoka, Japan
Children Son: 2
Eye Color Black
Hair Color Gray
Height In CM Not Known CM
Height In Meter Not Known M
Nationality Japanese
Parents Father: Yoshio, Mother: Shina
Profession Cell Biologist
Siblings Brother: Kazuo, Sisters: Reiko, Junko
Spous Mariko Nakazawa
Weight Not Known
Zodiac Sign Aquarius


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