American Philosophical Society
Member History

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201. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry[X]
1Name:  Dr. Avram Hershko
 Institution:  Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
 Year Elected:  2005
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  201. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1937
Avram Hershko was born in 1937 in Karcag, Hungary and emigrated with his family to Israel in 1950. He gained his M.D. (1965) and Ph.D. (1969) from the Hebrew University - Hadassah Medical School of Jerusalem, a period which included service as a physician in the Israel Defence Forces (1965-67). After a post-doctoral fellowship with Gordon Tomkins at the University of San Francisco (1969-72), he joined the faculty of the Haifa Technion, becoming professor in 1980. He is now Distinguished Professor in the Unit of Biochemistry in the B. Rappaport Faculty of Medicine of the Technion. His main research interests concern the mechanisms by which cellular proteins are degraded, a formerly neglected field of study. Dr. Hershko and his colleagues showed that cellular proteins are degraded by a highly selective proteolytic system. This system tags proteins for destruction by linkage to a protein called ubiquitin, which had previously been identified in many tissues, as the name suggests, but whose function was previously unknown. Subsequent work in Dr. Hershko's and many other laboratories has shown that the ubiquitin system has a vital role in controlling a wide range of cellular processes, such as the regulation of cell division, signal transduction and DNA repair. Abnormalities in the ubiquitin system result in diseases such as certain types of cancer. The full range of functions of the ubiquitin system in health and disease has still to be elucidated. Dr. Hershko was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2004) jointly with his former Ph.D. student Aaron Ciechanover and their colleague Irwin Rose. His many honors include the Israel Prize for Biochemistry (1994), the Gardner Award (1999), the Lasker Prize for Basic Medical Research (2000), the Wolf Prize for Medicine (2001) and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Award (2001). Dr. Hershko is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences (2000) and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (2003).
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