Professor Tanaka’s research is truly multidisciplinary. His work spans research on highly selective stationary phases, isotope separation and separations based on isotopic chirality, separation mechanism elucidation, multidimensional separations and biological separations. He contributed to the development of the monolithic silica rod column which was commercialised by Merck in 2000 and is widely used in the bioanalysis field. Other notable areas of research include his seminal work on pressure induced retention changes in RPLC, stationary phase characterisation and he was a major contributor in the area of monolithic silica capillary columns for LC and CEC at the turn of the century.
Professor Tanaka undertook his PhD in the Faculty of Science at Kyoto University in 1973 where he also undertook his undergraduate and MSc studies. Between 1973 and 1979, Professor Tanaka undertook a number of post-doctoral research positions in the USA with Professor E. R. Thornton (University of Pennsylvania), Professor Y. Pocker (University of Washington) and Professor B. L. Karger (Northeastern University). After his time abroad, he returned to a position at the Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT). In 1987 he was made an Associate Professor and a full Professor in 1991. He held this position until he retired in March 2009. He was awarded Professor Emeritus by KIT and joined GL Sciences Inc., Iruma, Saitama near Tokyo to continue research on separation science. Currently he is visiting UC Davis Metabolomics Center, CA, USA, and will be working there until summer 2014.
His research is internationally acclaimed and he has received numerous awards reflecting his outstanding contribution. These include the Award of the Society for Chromatographic Sciences (1998), The Chromatographic Society Jubilee Medal (2002), the Japan Society for Analytical Chemistry Award (2004), the Marcel Golay Award (2007), the ACS Award for Chromatography (2009) and the Prize for Science and Technology from The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan (2010).
Professor Tanaka’s scientific expertise is also highly valued and recognised by the learned press. He is currently editor or serving on the editorial boards for Chromatography, Chromatographia, Chinese Journal of Chromatography, Journal of Separation Science and the Journal of Chromatography A. As an author, he has over 210 publications including 50 book chapters and review articles.
Professor Tanaka was a permanent scientific committee member for the HPLC conference series for 2007-2011. He was the Chairman for HPLC Kyoto in 2001, and the 33rd International Symposium on High Performance Liquid Phase Separations and Related Techniques in Kyoto (2008). It is anticipated that Professor Tanaka will be presented with the Martin Medal at HPLC2014 in New Orleans in May 2014 upon agreement of the organising committee.
The nominations for this medal category for 2014 were extremely strong as usual and included a number of highly prominent separation scientists. Accordingly, there was significant deliberation by the committee in the Martin medal category to ensure the most appropriate candidates were chosen for the award. On this occasion, the breadth and depth of the evidence pointed to one outstanding candidate. Accordingly, Professor Nobuo Tanaka (Kyoto Institute of Technology and GL Sciences, Tokyo) was awarded the Martin Medal.
Dr Paul Ferguson
Vice-President, The Chromatographic Society & Chair of the Society’s Awards Panel