Satoshi Ōmura earned doctorate degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Tokyo (1968) and Chemistry from the Tokyo University of Science (1970). His career-long association with the Kitasato Institute began in 1965, starting as a researcher and culminating in his tenure as President from 1990. He is currently Distinguished Emeritus Professor and Special Coordinator, Drug Discovery Projects from Natural Products in Kitasato University’s Kitasato Institute for Life Sciences, and has served as Max Tishler Professor of Chemistry at Wesleyan University (USA) since 2005.
His pioneering research on bioactive compounds of microbial origin, including their biosynthesis (including the genetic basis of biosynthetic mechanisms), mode of action and total synthesis, has been on-going for almost 50 years. It has resulted in the discovery of approaching 500 compounds, 26 having been used globally as medicaments and biochemical reagents, including the world-leading anthelmintic Avermectin/Ivermectin, protein kinase inhibitor Staurosporine, and proteasome inhibitor Lactacystin. His work has led to significant improvements in global public health and welfare, as well advancements in Organic Chemistry, Pharmacology, Medicine and Biochemistry. Professor Ōmura has been internationally recognized receiving, among other awards, the Japan Academy Prize, SIM Charles Thom Award, ACS Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products, ICID Hamao Umezawa Memorial Award and Canada Gairdner Global Health Award. He is a member of German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, National Academy of Sciences, USA, the Japan Academy, Institut de France, Academie des Sciences, and Chinese Academy of Engineering and is an honorary member of Royal Society of Chemistry.