Yoshio Masui Cell Biology

Discovered the cell growth switch

The Story

Masui and his students, working with basic equipment and modest funding, succeeded in isolating materials that control the process of cell division in all organisms. Masui credits some of his success to an advisor at Yale University, who recommended he concentrate on low-budget research techniques that would allow him to perform good work despite limited funds. Also at the University of Toronto’s Zoology Department, Masui invented many original techniques to assist his studies of cell division: a quantitative method for microinjection in 1971; microextraction in 1976; cell-free “in-vitro” mitosis in 1983. Masui’s microinjection technique enabled him to directly transfer into cells controlled amounts of Maturity Promoting Factor (MPF) that initiates cell division and the Cytostatic factor that stops it, confirming their role in cell growth. Masui won the 1990 Manning Award.

Sources: The Manning Awards; NSERC

The Person

November 30, 1930
Kyoto, Japan
Zoologist; Professor
University of Toronto, Ontario
  • BSc Kyoto University, 1953
  • MSc Kyoto University, 1955
  • PhD Kyoto University, 1961
  • Gairdner Foundation International Award, 1992
  • Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, 1998
  • Fellow of the Royal Society, 1998
  • Order of Canada, 2003
Last Updated
January 29, 2011

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