Congratulations, Dr. Gordon Sato!

In June 2005, Dr. Gordon Sato, PhD, earned the $460,000 Blue Planet Prize, awarded by Japan’s Asahi Glass Foundation. His technique for cultivating mangrove trees in seawater on the Eritrean coast has led to the development of 700,000ha of mangrove plantations. These could be used as pasture to rear sheep and goats. He is the administrator of the Manzanar Project, Department of Fisheries, Asmara, Eritrea. The Project is a global action project which offers simple, practical and effective solutions to the planet’s most critical problems: reduction of poverty, hunger, environmental pollution, and global warming through sea water aquaculture and silvaculture in deserts. Dr. Sato conceived the project while he was professor at the University of California-San Diego. Pilot experiments in wastewater, algal and brine shrimp culture, and the food chain were begun on a test site in the Salton Sea. The project was further developed under the administration of Drs. Sato and Wallace McKeehan at the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center, Lake Placid, NY, where he was the director. The Manzanar Project name derives from Dr. Sato’s experience a 14-year old living in a relocation camp with other Japanese-Americans during World War II. At the time, he grew corn and vegetables on a patch of land under the harsh conditions in the California desert.

After graduation from Manzanar High School (1944), Dr. Sato attended Central College, Pella, Iowa, before enlisting in the U.S. Army. He did his undergraduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Southern California and earned the PhD degree (1955) in biophysics at the California Institute of Technology under Max Delbruck. He completed post-doctoral training in genetics with Gunther Stent (University of California-Berkeley) and Theodore Puck (University of Colorado Medical School). He was Professor of Biochemistry (1958-1969) at Brandeis University, Boston, MA, and, from 1970-1983, he was Professor of Biology, University of California-San Diego.

Dr. Sato was president of the Tissue Culture Association (now the Society for In Vitro Biology, SIVB) from 1984 to 1986, and was Editor-in-Chief of In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology from 1987 to 1991. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) and an adjunct and honorary professor at many universities worldwide. He is the author or co-author of over 150 publications in cell and molecular biology.

At the 2002 SIVB Congress on In Vitro Biology in Orlando, FL, Dr. Sato was recognized with the SIVB Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also one of the five 2002 Laureates of the Rolex Awards for World Enterprise. The Rolex Awards are given to individuals whose work promises to improve the quality of life on earth and the human condition. At the age of 78, Dr. Sato is spending his retirement in helping some of the planet’s poorest people to help themselves. We salute this eminent scientist and humanitarian and wish him every continued success in his endeavors.

Carlton H. Nadolney, PhD
Wallace L. McKeehan, PhD