Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- August 4, 2004
International Science Award Named in Honor of Cal Poly
An international science society has created an award recognizing scientific
efforts in the study of cells and has named it after a Cal Poly professor.
Professor Paul K. Nakane of Cal Poly's Environmental Biotechnology Institute will
be the first recipient of the award named in his honor by the International
Federation of Societies for Histochemistry and Cytochemistry.
Histochemistry and cytochemistry are branches of science that focus on the study
of the chemical composition and activities of tissues and cells.
The group presented the award to Nakane at its international congress in San Diego
July 24. Along with a plaque and a certificate, the award includes an expenses-paid
trip to the society's international congress, held every four years. The award
will go to professionals who show outstanding scientific contributions and
international leadership in advancing the disciplines of histochemistry and
The international group named the award in Nakane's honor in recognition of his
scientific accomplishments and leadership in scientific societies in the United
States and Japan, as well as in the International Federation of Societies for
Histochemistry and Cytochemistry, according to IFSHC President Ron Van Noorden.
"The prize recognizes the role you have played as a scientist and leader, and we
can think of no person more deserving of the award than yourself," Van Noorden
told Nakane in announcing the award and its first recipient.
Nakane, who has been with Cal Poly since 2003, said the award is a great honor.
"I've received many awards before, but to receive an award named after me is
different," he said. "To know that the Paul Nakane prize will be given to someone
long after I am gone is a strangefeeling."
Nakane serves as a consultant to Cal Poly EBI Director and Professor Emeritus Raul
Cano, in addition to doing research projects at the institute. This fall, he will
begin a research project seeking to develop a clinical medical test to identify
specific antibiotics effective against infectious bacteria and fungi within two
hours after receiving clinical specimens from infected patients.
If doctors are able to get test results more quickly and identify the specific
fungi and bacteria causing illness in patients, they will be better able to
prescribe targeted antibiotics rather than broad-spectrum antibiotics, Nakane
Right now, when physicians wait for the results of throat cultures and other
bacterial tests, "The time required to obtain the information is too long, and so
patients are treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics prior to test results,"
explained Nakane, who also holds a doctorate in medicine. That practice is
resulting in the emergence of drug-resistant strains of bacteria and fungi -
something more rapid test results could combat.
He said he became interested in cells and mutation during science classes on
genetics when he was a high school student in his native Japan.
Before coming to Cal Poly, Nakane served as a professor of pathology at the
University of Colorado School of Medicine from 1976-1982, the director of the
Medical Research Institute at Tokai University in Japan from 1982 to 1987, and
from 1987 to 2003 was chair of the anatomy department at Nagasaki University
School of Medicine.
Contact: Teresa Hendrix (805) 756-7266