trivia of iPS cells and professor Yamanaka

from Yahoo images

Last week the news that professor Shinya Yamanaka has won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine pleased the whole Japanese.  He is the 19th Japanese Nobel prize winner.  Unlike other winners excluding a politician and novelists he had been well-known to people before winning the award.  Although many people knew that he was a strong contender for the prize, they are very glad that he is awarded that fast.

He established the method to produce a new kind of cells named induced pluripotent cells.  This cells are often called iPS cells, the acronym for induced pluripotent cells.  But why is ‘i’PS cells, not IPS cells?  Here is a trivia.  Because ‘i’ is prettier!  You can think of other cool things whose names begin with ‘i’:  iPhone, iPad and iTunes..  Yamanaka hoped that people would be interested in the cell and his research with the name.

When he was in school, he practiced Judo and played rugby.  He often got injured.  So he wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon.  But he was not good at surgery.  He spent two hours on an easy operation that other surgeons can do in 20 minutes.  So he was nicknamed ‘Jama naka’ by his colleagues.  ‘Jama’ sounds similar to ‘Yama’ and actually means ‘annoying’ in Japanese.  He realized that it was out of his element and decided to turn to a researcher.

These stories can make us feel close to him.  He says he has to go on making great efforts to let iPS cells come into practical use.  We really expect it, too.


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