Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nobel Laureate: Osamu Shimomura


The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008.

"for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP"

Osamu Shimomura (1928 - ) was awarded the Nobel Prize for isolating and characterizing green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria. Here's the Press Release describing his achievements.

Glowing proteins – a guiding star for biochemistry

The remarkable brightly glowing green fluorescent protein, GFP, was first observed in the beautiful jellyfish, Aequorea victoria in 1962. Since then, this protein has become one of the most important tools used in contemporary bioscience. With the aid of GFP, researchers have developed ways to watch processes that were previously invisible, such as the development of nerve cells in the brain or how cancer cells spread.

Osamu Shimomura first isolated GFP from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, which drifts with the currents off the west coast of North America. He discovered that this protein glowed bright green under ultraviolet light.

The images of the Nobel Prize medals are registered trademarks of the Nobel Foundation (© The Nobel Foundation). They are used here, with permission, for educational purposes only.


  1. It's hard to imagine cell biology without GFP.

  2. It's also hard to imagine a more embarrassing indictment of academic science than the career trajectory of Dr. Douglas Prasher and his connection with GFP.

  3. "...first observed in the beautiful jellyfish, Aequorea victoria in 1962."

    Depends what you mean with "first observed".....

    As early as the first century A.D., Roman natural historian Pliny the Elder reported that a slimy substance from the jellyfish “Pulmo marinus” could be applied to a walking stick to “light the way like a torch”.