Toyoki Kunitake is the President of Kitakyushu Foundation for the advancement of industry, science and technology. Toyoki Kunitake received his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in 1962, and them completed a post-doc at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with Prof. Carl G. Neimann. 

Research, collaboration, distinctions

A pioneer within the domain of material sciences, Prof. Kunitake is a researcher renowned throughout the world for his work in supramolecular chemistry. He was the first scientist to demonstrate that finely designed synthetic amphiphilic molecules spontaneously form bilayer membranes - a basic structure common to the biological membranes of living cells. Prof. Kunitake’s innovative research helped clarify this universal phenomenon for amphiphilic compounds, thus establishing a new and promising field of chemistry based on molecular self-assembly and opening new frontiers in supramolecular, colloid and polymer chemistry as well as material sciences. He received the Kyoto Prize in 2015, one of the most prestigious international awards in honour of those who have contributed significantly to scientific and cultural progress.

“Dr. Kunitake was the first in the world to report that synthetic molecules could spontaneously produce bilayer membranes—a basic structure common to the biological membranes of living cells. His innovative research has helped to illuminate the formation of bilayer membranes as a universal phenomenon not only in aqueous but also in organic solvents for amphiphilic compounds with extensive molecular structures. By systematizing a mechanism of synthetic bilayer membrane formation, he helped to establish the new and promising academic field of chemistry based on molecular self-assembly, which is opening new frontiers in the materials sciences.”

> The DHC for Prof. Kunitake was proposed by Reiko Oda (director of research at the CNRS, the Institute of Chemistry and Biology of Membranes and Nano-objects, CNRS - University of Bordeaux - Bordeaux INP, director of the Franco-Japanese associated international research laboratory - CNPA)

Updated on 04/06/2018