Ciechanover, Aaron (1947–)
An Israeli biologist who in 2000 was awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, Aaron (Aharon) J. Ciechanover was also a corecipient of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation.
Ciechanover was born on 1 October 1947 in Haifa, mandatory Palestine, to Yitzhak and Bluma (née Lubashevsky) Ciechanover, Jews from the Polish city of Ciechanów (hence his surname) who moved to Palestine in the mid-1920s. He received an M.S. in 1971 and an M.D. in 1974 from the Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ciechanover later received a D.Sc. in medicine in 1982 from the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) in Haifa. He did postdoctoral research on lasialoglycoprotein and transferrin receptors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1981 to 1984, and currently is a professor in the Unit of Biochemistry and director of the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in Medical Sciences at the Technion. Since 2003 he also has been a visiting professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS
Ciechanover grew up in a middle-class family that valued education and learning. In October 1972, Ciechanover began his M.D. thesis research with the Israeli biochemist AVRAM HERSHKO. That began a three-decades long collaboration between the two. From 1972 to 1973 Ciechan-over did research, prior to his three years military service from 1973 to 1976. He decided that research, not clinical medical practice, was what really interested him, and in November 1976 he began graduate studies with Hershko at the Technion. He and Hershko also collaborated with American Irvin A. Rose from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, a collaboration that led to their pioneering work in the ways that unnecessary proteins are destroyed (protein degradation).
Name: Aaron (Aharon) Ciechanover
Birth: 1947, Haifa, mandatory Palestine
Family: Wife, Menucha; one son, Yitzhak (called Tzachi)
Education: M.S., the Hadassah Medical School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1971; M.D., the Hadassah Medical School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem 1974; D.Sc. (medicine), Israel Institute of Technology (the Technion), Haifa, 1982
- 1972: Begins collaboration with Israeli biochemist Avram Hershko
- 1973: Begins three years service in the Israeli military
- 1981: Begins three-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- 1996: Member of the council, European Molecular Biology Organization
- 1997: Awarded the Henry Taub Prize at the Technion for Excellence in Research
- 1999: Awarded the Wachter Prize of the University of Innsbruck, Austria (along with Hershko)
- 2003: Becomes visiting professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago
- 2004: Awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry (along with Hershko and Irwin Rose)
THE WORLD'S PERSPECTIVE
The caliber of Ciechanover's work can be seen in the fact that he belongs to several important organizations and has received several prestigious awards over the years. From 1996 to at least 2007, he has been a member of the council of the European Molecular Biology Organization. In 1997 he won the Henry Taub Prize at the Technion for Excellence in Research, followed two years later by the Wachter Prize of the University of Innsbruck, Austria (which he shared with Hershko). Capping off his career, Ciechanover, along with Hershko and Rose, won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry—the first time that Israelis had won a Nobel Prize in science. In making the award, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted:
Proteins build up all living things: plants, animals and therefore us humans. In the past few decades biochemistry has come a long way toward explaining how the cell produces all its various proteins. But as to the breaking down of proteins, not so many researchers were interested. Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko and Irwin Rose went against the stream and at the beginning of the 1980s discovered one of the cell's most important cyclical processes, regulated protein degradation. For this, they are being rewarded with this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
In addition to his important scientific contributions, Ciechanover, along with Hershko, will be remembered as the first Israelis ever to win a Nobel Prize in science.
"Aaron Ciechanover—Interview." NobelPrize.org. Updated 9 December 2004. Available from http://nobelprize.org.
Ciechanover, Aaron. "Aaron Ciechanover—Nobel Lecture." NobelPrize.org. Available from http://nobelprize.org.
"Press Release: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2004." NobelPrize.org. Available from http://nobelprize.org.
Michael R. Fischbach