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SPRUC 2016 Young Scientist Award

In this fiscal year 2016, "SPRUC 2016 Young Scientist Award" which was being invited had thirteen candidates by the closing date.
SPRUC 2016 Young Scientist Award Review Committee had rigorous process for selecting two winners.

The SPRUC 2016 Young Science Award (YSA) is given to a young scientist who is recognized as having established a notable achievement in the development of a new experimental technique or a new method for data analysis, or having achieved  remarkable results in the studied field by making use of the characteristic features of SPring-8.


  Hideaki Kato  (Stanford University,USA)
Dr. Hideaki Kato succeeded to solve the crystal structure of a light-driven cation channel, channel rhodopsin, and proposed a general protocol to design a blue-shifted mutant of light-driven ion channels based on the atomic structure. Dr. Kato also succeeded to design and produce a first light-driven K+ channel by the structure-based engineering technique. These results gave a great impact on optogenetics, which is an innovative technique based on structural biology in the field of neurosciences, and will promote its advancement. During these structural studies, Dr. Kato greatly contributed to the development of data collection protocols of micrometer sized crystals at the microfocus beamline BL32XU in collaboration with the beamline scientists, and it led to a universal method for crystal structure analysis of membrane proteins using the LCP method. These achievements demonstrate his talent and ability as an excellent young scientist, and the SPRUC 2016 Young Scientist Award was unanimously recommended and approved to go to Dr. Hideaki Kato.

  Yujiro Hayashi  (TOYOTA Central R&D LABS.,INC)
Dr. Yujiro Hayashi developed a modified three-dimensional X-ray diffraction (3DXRD) technique as a solution to the major problem with 3DXRD-type experiments, namely, overlap of polycrystalline diffraction spots. The modified method, termed scanning 3DXRD, enables three-dimensional crystallographic orientation mapping in polycrystals using an X-ray beam with a beam size smaller than the average grain size. This method can allow one to apply a 3DXRD-type technique to specimens with a larger number of grains, which are of industrial significance. He demonstrated a three-dimensional orientation map by an experiment using a 20 ☓ 20 ㎛ beam, and now is trying to improve the technique with a much smaller beam size. This technique makes best use of low emittance of high energy X-rays from SPring-8. It is noteworthy that Dr. Hayashi developed such an advanced technique in a company, and thus it is considered that he is appropriate for SPRUC Young Scientist Award.

Atsushi Nakagawa
Chair, SPring-8 Users Community (SPRUC)
Junichiro Mizuki
Chair, SPRUC 2016 Young Scientist Award Review Committee