3 December 1925|
6 July 2018 (aged 92)|
|Other names||Kimi Ishizaka|
|Alma mater||University of Tokyo|
|Known for||Discovery of IgE|
Kimishige "Kimi" Ishizaka (石坂 公成 Ishizaka Kimishige, 3 December 1925 – 6 July 2018) was a Japanese immunologist who, with his wife Terako Ishizaka, discovered the antibody class Immunoglobulin E (IgE) in 1966–1967. Their work was regarded as a major breakthrough in the understanding of allergy. He was awarded the 1973 Gairdner Foundation International Award and the 2000 Japan Prize for his work in immunology.
Ishizaka obtained his medical qualifications and PhD in 1948 from the University of Tokyo. From 1953 to 1962 he headed the immunoserology division at the department of serology at the Japanese National Institute of Health. During his tenure in that position he spent two years as a research fellow at Caltech (1957–1959).
In 1962, Ishizaka and his wife Teruko were recruited by Dr. Sam Bukantz, medical director of the Children's Asthma Research Institute and Hospital (CARIH), and moved to Denver, Colorado. He assumed the post of assistant professor of microbiology at the University of Colorado Medical School, as well as chief of immunology of its associated Children's Asthma Research Institute and CARIH. In 1965, he was promoted to associate professor at University of Colorado Denver.
While at Denver, the Ishizakas discovered the antibody class Immunoglobulin E (IgE) in 1966–1967 and its interplay with mast cells. They demonstrated the IgE's critical role in mediating the release of histamine from mast cells. The discovery of IgE is considered a milestone in immunology and the understanding of allergy.
In 1970, Ishizaka was appointed as O'Neill Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as professor of biology at the Faculty of Arts and Science. From 1982 to 1986, he served as president of the Collegium International Allergologicum. He was elected a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1983. Ishaka remained at the university until 1989, when he became scientific director, and then president in 1990, of the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology in La Jolla, California.
The Ishizakas received numerous awards for their work in allergy and immunology. In 1972, they received the Passano Foundation Award. In 1973, he received the German Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, the Takeda Medical Award, the first Scientific Achievement Award of the International Association of Allergology and together received the Gairdner Foundation International Award. In 1974, he received the Asahi Cultural Award, the Imperial Prize of the Japan Academy, and the Japanese Order of Culture. In 1979, they received the Borden Award. In 2000, he was awarded the 16th Japan Prize.
Ishizaka was married to Teruko Ishizaka, his partner in many of his discoveries. He died of heart failure at the age of 92 on 6 July 2018 at Yamagata University Hospital in Yamagata, Yamagata.