Masashi YanagisawaDirector and Professor, World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI), International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (IIIS), University of Tsukuba
Professor Masashi Yanagisawa aims to solve the mystery of sleep, one of the biggest black boxes in today’s brain science. In 1988, as a graduate student at the University of Tsukuba, he discovered “endothelin,” a hormone that raises blood pressure. His remarkable achievement caught the eyes of Drs. Goldstein and Brown, Nobel laureates, allowing him to establish an independent lab at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1991. In 1998 he discovered a brain substance "orexin" and opened up a new era of sleep studies. In 2003, he was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences. Funded by the World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI) program by MEXT, Professor Yanagisawa established the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (IIIS) in 2012, and continues efforts to elucidate the mechanisms underlying sleep/wake regulation.