On January 19, 2023, OIST held its monthly internal event, OIST Teatime, with Professor (Adjunct) Svante Pääbo, who visited Japan for the first time after receiving the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine at the end of last year. More than 100 students, researchers, and faculty members gathered at the event to celebrate the achievement of Prof. Pääbo, at his first visit to OIST in a few months.
OIST community celebrated Prof. Pääbo's Nobel Prize with cookies baked in the shape of the Nobel Prize medal
Prof. Pääbo was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution." The details of his Prize-winning research are described in "OIST Professor Svante Pääbo wins 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine," with his latest research at OIST in "Beyond the Nobel Prize: Professor Pääbo’s quest to uncover what makes humans unique."
Dr. Peter Gruss, former President of OIST and long-time colleague of Prof. Pääbo, said, "It's a true historical event. We have always been interested in the past, but being interested in the past has led him to shape the future. This research shows his dedication that he didn't give up. And in 1997, his Neanderthal genome research led to the breakthrough. And that breakthrough led to numerous subsequent studies. Ever since, he's been leading a group as an adjunct professor, and that group is leading into the future." The OIST community congratulated Professor Pääbo on his achievement and shared great hopes for his new research at OIST.
Prof. Pääbo expressed his joy at being a part of OIST and enthusiasm for new research at OIST by saying, "I was very privileged to be able to join OIST in 2020. OIST has an excellent research environment with high interdisciplinarity. At OIST, we have been looking at the brain and muscle functions unique to Neanderthals. I look forward to working on new research here at OIST."
Prof. Pääbo gave a speech at the Teatime
After the event, Prof. Pääbo made himself available to answer questions from many students who remained at the venue and accepted their requests to take pictures with him.
One of the OIST students, Yoshiki Ochiai, who brought his favorite book by Prof. Pääbo, was thrilled to be able to congratulate Prof. Pääbo in person. He said, "It was an unmeasurable honor for me to be able to attend the Teatime with Prof. Pääbo after he received the Nobel Prize, following his lecture that was held at OIST last April. This time, I was able to speak with him in person and got his autograph in his book. I will treasure it forever!" OIST research intern Amela Londo said, "I am working as an intern at a research unit that is collaborating with Prof. Pääbo. This was the first time I had the opportunity to speak with him, and when we were talking, many of the delightful episodes from his book were going through my head. It was so exciting!"
Prof. Pääbo is planning to visit Okinawa several times a year to continue his research at OIST.
Prof. Pääbo and OIST students