Professor Shinya Yamanaka is most recognized for his discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), which are differentiated cells that have been reprogrammed to the pluripotent state. He is Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), which was founded in 2008 in response to his discovery, at Kyoto University, and Senior Investigator at the Gladstone Institutes.
He is a trained orthopaedic surgeon, earning his M.D. in 1987 from Kobe University and Ph.D. in 1993 from Osaka City University. Upon graduation, he went to the Gladstone Institutes as a scientist, where It he first learned genetics and the use of embryonic stem cells. In 1996, he returned to Japan and has since continuously researched pluripotency. He has been a professor at Kyoto University since 2004.
Since his breakthrough finding, he has been the recipient of many prestigious awards including the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the 100th Imperial Prize and Japan Academy Prize, the Kyoto Prize, and the Wolf Prize in Medicine. The significance of iPSC was culminated with Dr. Yamanaka being awarded the Nobel Prize in 2012.