School of Medicine Awards 21st Keio Medical Science Prize
December 12, 2016
The 21st Keio Medical Science Prize Award Ceremony was held on Thursday, December 1, at Kitasato Hall inside Kitasato Memorial Library on Shinanomachi Campus. The Keio Medical Science Prize is awarded to researchers who have made outstanding and creative achievements in the fields of medical and life sciences, and from whom significant activity can be expected in the future, regardless of their nationality. Awarded by the Keio University Medical Science Fund since 1996, it is the only prize of its kind awarded by a Japanese university. Seven prize laureates have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, an unparalleled honor among Japanese universities.
This year’s recipients were Dr. Svante Pääbo, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, selected for his achievements in “Molecular Elucidation of Human Origin,” and Dr. Tasuku Honjo, a Professor at the Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine at Kyoto University, selected for his achievements in “Identification of PD-1 and Establishment of Cancer Immunotherapy Principle by PD-1 Blockade.”
Prof. Hideyuki Okano, Dean of the School of Medicine and the Chairman of the Keio Medical Science Prize Selection Committee, reported on the rigorous discussion to decide this year’s recipients by the review committee, which has members from both within and outside Keio University, and gave an introduction of the two recipients. Then, President Atsushi Seike conferred medals and certificates on Dr. Pääbo and Dr. Honjo before giving a congratulatory address. Shinjiro Komatsu, State Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Ambassador Magnus Robach at the Embassy of Sweden in Japan, and Ambassador Dr Hans Carl von Werthern at the Embassy of Germany in Sweden also gave their felicitations. Finally, the recipients took turns at the podium to express their joy at receiving the award. They spoke of their research thus far, thanked all those involved in the research, and expressed their dedication to continue their research.
At the commemorative lectures that followed, Dean Okano began with a small speech followed by the lectures by both prize winners. The 300 visitors, including invited guests, Keio faculty and staff members, and students, filled the hall to capacity. They listened intently and participated in a lively question and answer session after each lecture.