Shinya Yamanaka, and fellow stem cell researcher John Gurdon, were awarded the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine, awarded once a year for outstanding discoveries in the fields of life sciences and medicine, “for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent,” October 2012.
Shinya Yamanaka is a Japanese physician and researcher of adult stem cells, or biological cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide through mitosis and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells.
Yamanaka serves as the director of Center for iPS Cell Research and Application and a professor at the Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences at Kyoto University, or “Kyodai,” a national university located in Kyoto, Japan; and as a professor of anatomy at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), a center of health sciences research, patient care, and education, located in San Francisco, California. He is also the current president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR).
In 2011, he received the Wolf Prize in Medicine, awarded once a year by the Wolf Foundation in Israel, with Rudolf Jaenisch, a biologist at MIT. This year, he won two prizes: the Millenium Technology Prize, the largest technology prizes in the world, together with Linus Torvalds, a Finnish American software engineer and hacker, who has the principal force behind the development of the Linux kernel; and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, administered by the Nobel Foundation, together with John B. Gurdon.
Sir John Bertrand Gurdon (JBG), on the other hand, is a British development biologist, the one who studies the process by which organisms grow and develop.
JBG is best known for his pioneering research on somatic-cell nuclear transplantation (“SCNT”), which in genetics and developmental biology, is a laboratory technique for creating a clone embryo with a donor nucleus; and cloning, also in biology, is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually.
In 2009, Gurdon was awarded the Lasker Award, which is awarded annually since 1946 to living persons who have made major contributions to medical science or who have performed public service on behalf of medicine. And this year, won a Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Yamanaka, as stated above.