Awards & Honors
Award-Winning Scholars at Kyoto University

International Awards in Medicine and Life Science

Keio Medical Science Prize 1996 Keio University Medical Science Fund

Neuroscience, Molecular Biology

Awarded for

discovering structures and functions of receptor molecules

Shigetada Nakanishi [1942 -]

M.D. and Ph.D. in Medical Science
Member of the Japan Academy
Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University
Director, Osaka Bioscience Institute


Professor Nakanishi elucidated the characteristic precursor architectures of various neuropeptides and vasoactive peptides by introducing recombinant DNA technology. Subsequently, he established a novel functional cloning strategy for membrane receptors and ion channels and characterized molecular structures and the regulatory mechanisms of NMDA-type and G protein-coupled type of glutamate receptors as well as several peptide receptors. He also greatly contributed to the understanding of fundamental mechanisms of functional neural networks.


Shigetada Nakanishi was initially trained as a biochemist and shifted his research interest into molecular biology and neuroscience. He was Professor of Kyoto University from 1981 to 2005 and is currently the Director of Osaka Bioscience Institute. His main area of research has been molecular neuroscience, focusing on molecular mechanisms of glutamate receptor functions and integrative synaptic mechanisms of the neural network.


  • 1966

    Graduated from Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine, M.D.

  • 1971

    Completed his Doctor’s degree in Medicine at Kyoto University

  • 1971

    Visiting Associate, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA (-1974)

  • 1974

    Received Ph.D. in Medical Science from Kyoto University

  • 1974

    Associate Professor, Kyoto University

  • 1981

    Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University (-2005)

  • 1999

    Professor, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University (-2005)

  • 2000

    Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University (-2002)

  • 2005

    Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University

  • 2005

    Director, Osaka Bioscience Institute

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Other Awards and Prizes

  • 1995

    Distinguished Achievement Award, Bristol-Myers Squibb, USA

    Foreign Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, USA

  • 1997

    Imperial Prize and Japan Academy Prize, the Japan Academy, Japan

  • 2000

    Foreign Associate, National Academy of Sciences, USA

  • 2006

    Person of Cultural Merit, Japan

  • 2007

    The Gruber Neuroscience Prize, the Gruber Foundation, USA

  • 2009

    Member, the Japan Academy, Japan

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