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Dr. Mizushima Interview - 2021 Symposium - Keynote Speaker

Q: What attracted you to the field of autophagy?

I joined the autophagy field in 1997, when autophagy was still a minor

field in cell biology. What attracted me is that Dr. Ohsumi has

isolated autophagy mutants and cloned several autophagy genes, but

their functions were all unknown. In addition, the fact that autophagy

is conserved in many eukaryotes was another important factor.

Q: What do you consider to be the most exciting recent discovery in autophagy?

Personally, I am excited that we can now understand the evolution of

autophagy and ATG genes in detail because the genomes of many

organisms (not only typical model organisms) have been uncovered.

Identification of the function of each ATG gene (e.g., ATG2 and ATG9)

is also exciting.

Q: What is the career achievement you are most proud of?

It is definitely that I discovered Dr. Ohsumi when I was doing my PhD

in a department of internal medicine. This is my most important

discovery in my research career. The second most important achievement

may be the discovery of the Atg12 system. That keeps me in this field.

Q: Why do you think networks like WIA are beneficial?

Of course this kind of networking (both online and onsite) is

important to help each other and not to focus too much on our own

research. We should enjoy other people's research as well, even if it

is not directly related to our own. (but the time of online meetings

is not very convenient for Asian people).

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