Ryuzo Yanagimachi, known by colleagues as “Dr. Yana,” is an internationally-renowned fertility researcher, whose development of the “Honolulu Technique” to create the world’s first cloned mouse brought international acclaim to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In August 1998, the achievement was featured in news articles around the world.
On August 27—20 years later and on Yanagimachi’s 90th birthday—the inaugural Yanagimachi Symposium convened at the Sullivan Conference Center at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). Topics of scientific sessions, which ran throughout the day, included in vitro fertilization (IVF), genetics and genome editing.
Yanagimachi founded the UH Mānoa Institute for Biogenesis Research, part of JABSOM, in 2000. Long before that, he had toiled in laboratories devising the reproductive science that led to assisted fertilization in vitro.
I have always been curious about nature, about the wonder of life, since I was a boy.
In the early 1960’s, as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of the world-renowned M.C. Chang of the Worcester Foundation of Experimental Biology, Massachusetts, Yanagimachi put rodent eggs and sperm in a petri dish under the lenses of a microscope and watched the sperm enter into the egg. It was the first time that had been done with rodents.
This IVF was the beginning of his and other scientists’ analytical studies of fertilization in mammals, eventually including humans.
What inspired him then? “I have always been curious about nature, about the wonder of life, since I was a boy,” Yanagimachi said recently.
For more on this story, see the JABSOM website.
—By Tina Shelton