Prof. Tasuku Honjo during his lecture in the Erika-Haus

July 8, 2019: Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Prof. Tasuku Honjo, gives keynote lecture at Erika House

Monday, 08. July 2019

The Japanese immunologist Prof. Tasuku Honjo came to Hamburg at the invitation of the HPI, the Leibniz Association and the Leibniz Center Infection. On Thursday, July 4, 2019, more than 200 guests attended a lecture by the scientist from the University of Kyoto at the Erika-Haus on the premises of the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf.

In the morning Prof. Tasuku Honjo was first received in the city hall by mayor Dr. Peter Tschentscher, where he signed the Golden Book of the city.

Afterwards he arrived at the Erika House together with the ambassador of Japan, Takeshi Yagi. In his keynote speech, he reported on the developments in immunology since his time as a young scientist as well as on the challenges that still have to be mastered in this field in the future.

Following the lecture, Prof. Honjo was particularly interested in the exchange with young scientists. In the afternoon, he met two selected HPI junior researchers for a personal talk before he rounded off the day with a Hamburg cultural program.


Prof. Tasuku Honjo was awarded the "Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine" together with James P. Allison in 2018 for the discovery of a cancer therapy by inhibiting negative immune regulation. Both scientists had found out in parallel that certain proteins act as a brake on the immune system, preventing the immune system from fighting tumor cells. If this brake is released, the immune cells attack the cancer cells. Based on this concept, new therapies have been developed that are already in use for various types of cancer.