Masayori Inouye is known for his versatile research interests from protein chemistry, bacterial genetics, the genetic code, signal transduction across the membrane, membrane biogenesis, gene regulation by antisense-RNA, bacterial reverse transcriptases, bacterial differentiation, cold-shock response and the determination of the structure and function of membrane proteins. Most recently, he is engaged in research to recreate primitive proteins that could have existed during the era of the origin of life, and to identify all previously unassigned genes in bacterial pathogens such as Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis. Inouye was born in Port Arthur in Manchuria in 1934 and after the World War II, he went back to Japan. He studied at Osaka University, Japan and got his Ph.D. in 1963. After 5-years postdoctoral experience, he moved to Princeton University as a research associate working on the mechanism of cell division. 1970, he joined the faculty at State University of New York at Stony Brook. In 1987, he took a position as chair of the department of biochemistry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences as well as of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Research Interests

During the past 50 years of his scientific career, Dr. Inouye has worked on a number of different projects such as protein-based mRNA interference based on our discovery of highly sequence-specific mRNA interferases (2003-present), the Single-Protein Production (SPP) system (2005-present), the toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria and archaea (2003-present), the structure and functions of membrane proteins (1970-2000), cold-shock response and cold shock proteins (1990-present), the mechanism of signal transduction across the membrane (1989-2002), the discovery of a new mechanism of gene regulation by anti-sense RNA (1984-1985), membrane biogenesis (1968-1987), and the determination of the genetic codons used in a specific gene (1963-1968). More recently, Dr. Inouye has initiated exploration of new research fields; (1) the recreation of primitive proteins at the era of the origin of life to attempt to decipher how life was originated on the earth, and (2) the identification and characterization of previously unassigned genes in pathogenic bacteria such as Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis in an attempt to find novel physiological peptides including unprecedented antibiotics, (3) determination of the structures and functions of membrane proteins of unknown functions, and (4) the development of a method to stimulate the induction of iPS cells from human T cells by pre-treatment with an ACA-specific mRNA interferase.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 21: Biochemistry

Secondary Section

Section 44: Microbial Biology