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Prof. Dr.

Tasuku Honjo

Wahljahr: 2003
Sektion: Mikrobiologie und Immunologie
Stadt: Kyoto
Land: Japan
Member in Focus, 12. July 2012
CV Tasuku Honjo - English (pdf)


Tasuku Honjo is well known for his discovery of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) that is essential for class switch recombination and somatic hypermutation. AID is the enzyme that engraves antibody memory on the genome. He has established the basic conceptual framework of class switch recombination starting from discovery of DNA deletion (1978) and S regions (1980), followed by elucidation of the whole mouse immunoglobulin heavy-chain locus. His contribution further extended to cDNA cloning of IL-4 and IL-5 cytokines involved in class switching and IL-2 receptor alpha chain. Aside from class switching recombination, he discovered PD-1 (program cell death 1), a negative coreceptor at the effector phase of immune response and showed that PD-1 modulation contributes to treatments of viral infection, tumor and autoimmunity. In addition, he is known to be a discoverer of RBP-J, a nuclear protein that interacts with the intracellular domain of Notch in the nucleus. Notch/RBP-J signaling has been shown to regulate a variety of cell lineage commitment including T and B cells.


  • since 2012 Chairman, Board of Directors, Shizuoka Prefectural University Corporation, Japan
  • 2006-2012 Executive Member, Council for Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Office, Japan
  • since 2005 Professor, Department of Immunology and Genomic Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan
  • 2002-2004 Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan
  • 1996-2000 Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan
  • 1984-2005 Professor, Department of Medical Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan


  • since 2006 Scientific advisory board of the Singapore Immunology Network
  • since 2005 Councilor of Takeda Science Foundation
  • since 1996 External advisory board of the Committee for Human Gene Therapy Working Group
  • 1992-1995 Fellowship review committee member of International Human Frontier Science Program

Honours and Memberships

  • 2012 Robert Koch Prize
  • 2005 Member of Japan Academy
  • 2004 Leading Japanese Scientists in Emerging Research Fronts (Thomson)
  • 2003 Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 2001 Foreign Associate of U.S. National Academy of Sciences
  • 2000 Award “Persons of Cultural Merit” by Japanese Government
  • 1996 The Imperial Prize and the Japan Academy Prize
  • 1994 Uehara Prize
  • 1992 Behring-Kitasato Prize
  • 1991-1996 Fogarty Scholar-in-residence at NIH
  • 1988 Takeda Medical Prize
  • 1985 Erwin von Baelz Prize
  • 1984 Osaka Science Prize
  • 1984 Kihara Prize of the Japanese Genetics Society
  • 1981 Noguchi Hideyo-Memorial Award for Medicine
  • 1981 Asahi Prize




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06108 Halle (Saale)

Tel. 0345 - 47 239 - 122
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 139
E-Mail archiv @leopoldina.org


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