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Published June 8, 2020

Natural Wonders

Chair holder is in search of new therapies for cancer and AIDS.

Masayori Inouye, a distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is a pioneer in the field of molecular biology.

Inouye’s research interests include cell growth and death regulation of mammalian cells by bacterial toxins, and the creation of novel functional proteins by replacing a specific amino acid with its analogues. He has had, and continues to have, a vital impact on the development of treatments for cancer and AIDS.

His research also has led to significant advances in the fields of protein structure and functions, bacterial stress response, and gene regulation by indigenous toxin-antitoxin systems. Most notably, he discovered a new principle of gene regulation by ribonucleic acid (RNA), a nucleic acid present in all living cells, which opened an unprecedented avenue for engineering gene expression from bacteria to humans. His work has been documented in his more than 700 publications.

In recognition of his numerous groundbreaking contributions to the life sciences, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that a scientist can attain. He holds a doctorate from Osaka University.

The Takara-Bio Endowed Chair in Bioinformatics was established by Takara Schuzo Company and Takara-Bio Inc.

In the Professor’s Own Words

What aspect of your work is most fulfilling?

Looking into the mysteries of nature.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

The discovery of two different methods of mRNA interference, 1984 and 2005.

What do you think is the most important quality a scientist should have?

Perseverance.

 

This story is part of Rutgers University Foundation’s Endowed Chairs Impact series. Supporting professorships and research helps spark innovation and creativity here in New Jersey and beyond. To talk with someone at the foundation about creating an endowed chair or professorship, please contact Christopher Needles RBS’97, vice president for development, at christopher.needles@ruf.rutgers.edu or 848-932-2227. If you would like to contribute to an existing professorship or a research project, visit our giving portal for a list of the most up-to-date funding opportunities.

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