Shinya Yamanaka received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 2012 for his work on stem cell research. Originally an orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Yamanaka made his breakthrough discovery in 2006 when he succeeded in using already specialised adult cells to generate ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’ or iPS cells with the ability to differentiate into virtually any kind of tissue. This breakthrough represented a paradigm shift in developmental biology, showing that pluripotency can be achieved from adult cells and not only embryonic stem (ES) cells.

Dr Yamanaka is currently a Senior Investigator and the L.K. Whittier Foundation Investigator at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco. He is also a Professor of Anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco, as well as the Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) and a Principal Investigator at the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, both at Kyoto University.

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