Smalley Award 2015 Recipient

Tasuku Honjo, MD, PhDTasuku Honjo, MD, PhD
Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine

Instrumental in the discovery of PD-1 and its role in regulating T cell response, Tasuku Honjo, MD, PhD is a major leader in the immunotherapy field. His work has helped define the immunologic role of PD-1 in diseases and also helped identify PD-1 as a target for cancer immunotherapy drug development.

Professor Honjo's research has also included major contributions to our understanding of immunoglobulin class switching. In 1978, he developed a model of how antibody gene rearrangement during class switching occurred and went on to verify the model by elucidating the DNA structure. He also discovered the molecular structures and functions of IL-4 and IL-5, cytokines involved in class switching. More recently, Professor Honjo identified activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) as playing an important role in class switching recombination and somatic hypermutation. He currently serves as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medical Chemistry at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine.

Honors & Affiliations

Professor Honjo has received many awards and honors, including the Imperial Prize of the Japan Academy (1996), Robert Koch Prize (2012), the Order of Culture (2013) and Tang Prize (2014). He is a member of the Japan Academy, German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina and was elected as a foreign associate member of the National Academy of Sciences USA in 2001.

(Biography as of 2015)