Ichiro Amitani

Sad news regarding Ichiro Amitani

In Memoriam: Ichiro Amitani

Sad news that Ichiro Amitani, a Research Associate in Steve Kowalczykowski’s lab, passed away this past Tuesday, October 26, 2021 after an optimistic struggle with pancreatic cancer. Ichiro was an integral part of the Kowalczykowski lab for almost 20 years, having arrived in April 2002, after having received degrees in Physics and a Ph.D. in Life Science from Kanazawa University. Ichiro trained with Professor Toshio Ando, where he visualized the processive movement of single myosin V molecule on an actin filament. At UC Davis, together with the late Professor Ron Baskin, Ichiro built an optical microscope capable of capturing and imaging individual DNA molecules. Subsequently, he integrated dual optical trapping, force feedback, fluorescent imaging, and microfluidic designs to build the first instrument capable of capturing single molecules of DNA and imaging in real-time the actions bound proteins. His work led to the first ever observation of an individual enzyme acting on a single molecule of DNA. He built four next-generation microscopes of increasing sophistication and capabilities. These instruments were unique in the world, with unmatched capabilities, and enabled resolving previously unattainable issues in the field. His pioneering work led to many major scientific discoveries, resulting in authorship on 10 high-impact publications.

On a personal level, he was a kind and humble person. He was polite and quiet and, to those who knew him, he also had a wry sense of humor. He worked tirelessly, and science was his true passion. He willingly and patiently taught scores of students and postdocs the intricacies of single-molecule experimentation. He was a true ‘Sensei’ in the Japanese meaning of the word, contributing to the development and success of many colleagues. He will be missed.

In keeping with his private nature, last respects were conveyed at a gathering of his family. Those wishing to memorialize his life and passing can contribute to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he was treated: https://health.ucdavis.edu/cancer/   (https://give.ucdavis.edu/Donate/YourGift/CC48317)