Aaron Ciechanover, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate
Professor, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Prof. Aaron Ciechanover is a distinguished research professor in the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. He received his M.Sc. (1971) and M.D. (1973) from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He then completed his national service (1973-1976) as a military physician, after which he continued his studies and obtained his doctorate degree in biological sciences in the Faculty of Medicine in the Technion (D.Sc. 1982). At that time, Prof. Aaron Ciechanover was a graduate student under Dr. Avram Hershko and in collaboration with Dr. Irwin A. Rose from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, USA, when they discovered that covalent attachment of ubiquitin to a target protein signals it for degradation. After deciphering the mechanism of conjugation, they described the general proteolytic functions of the system and proposed a model according to which this modification serves as a recognition signal for a specific downstream protease. Along the years it has become clear that ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis plays major roles in numerous cellular processes, and aberrations in the system underlie the pathogenetic mechanisms of many diseases, among them certain malignancies and neurodegenerative disorders. Consequently, the system has become an important platform for drug development.
Besides the Nobel prize in chemistry, Ciechanover received the 2000 Albert Lasker Award and the 2003 Israel Prize. He is also a member of the Israeli National Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Foreign Fellow), the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences of the USA and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of the USA (Foreign Associate), the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS; Foreign Member), and the Russian Academy of Sciences (Foreign Member).