An Israeli scientist wins another Nobel Prize for chemistry

Biochemist Professor Ada Yonath, born in Jerusalem in 1939, member of the Weizmann Institute of Science, was awarded the 2009 Nobel prize for chemistry, jointly with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK and Thomas A. Steitz, of Yale University, US “for studies of the structure of the ribosome which translates the DNA code into life.”
The award announced Wednesday, Oct. 7, includes a $1.4 million purse.
“As ribosomes are crucial to life, they are also a major target for new antibiotics,” said the Swedish award statement. Prof. Yonath’s pioneering work has contributed to the understanding of how cells build proteins.
All three laureates have generated models showing how different antibiotics bind to ribosome. They are now used to develop new antibiotics.
Prof. Yonath is only the third woman to win the prize for chemistry since 1963. She was awarded the Albert Einstein World Award for Science in 2008. Profs. Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover of the Haifa Technion were awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2004. Prof. Yonath’s award bring the number Nobel prizes won by Israelis to nine, including three for peace, one for economics and one for literature.

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