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January 06, 2020

2020 CiRA Award Winners

(From left) Takuya Yamamoto, Shinya Yamanaka and Knut Woltjen

On the first day of work after the New Year's holidays, CiRA Director Shinya Yamanaka makes an announcement about the past year's accomplishments and future goals. He also announces the winners of the CiRA Award, which recognizes colleagues who made outstanding research achievements.

This year, Associate Professors Knut Woltjen and Takuya Yamamoto were the recipients. The Woltjen team engineered new tools that exploit microhomology-mediated end joining, an innate form of DNA repair. This work was the result of a collaboration with researchers at McGill University, Canada. Woltjen also announced a collaboration on skin metabolism and reprogramming with LVMH Recherche, the research division LVMH, which owns numerous luxury brands such as Christine Dior and Marc Jacobs.

The Yamamoto team has collaborated with a number of groups to provide insights on epigenomic phenomenon such as methylation levels during reprogramming and cancer development. Yamamoto also has started an internal seminar series to teach CiRA technicians and young researchers fundamental statistical analysis.

"I am very honoured to have won this award with Knut. We have done many collaborations together and for several years shared the same office," says Yamamoto.

Woltjen shared the sentiment. "We are good friends and collaborators and both joined at the start of CiRA 10 years ago."

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