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Aaron Ciechanover

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Aaron Ciechanover was born in Haifa, Israel in 1947. He is a Distinguished Professor in the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. He received his M.Sc. (1971) and M.D. (1975) from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and his D.Sc. (1982) from the Technion. There, as a graduate student with Dr. Avram Hershko and in collaboration with Dr. Irwin A. Rose from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, USA, they discovered that covalent attachment of ubiquitin to a target protein signals it for degradation. They deciphered the mechanism of conjugation, 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. As a post doctoral fellow with Dr. Harvey Lodish at the MIT, he continued his studies on the ubiquitin system and made additional important discoveries. It is now clear that ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis plays major roles in numerous cellular processes, and aberrations in the system underlie the pathogenesis of many diseases, among them certain malignancies and neurodegenerative disorders. Consequently, the system has become an important platform for drug development. Among the numerous prizes Ciechanover received are the 2000 Albert Lasker Award, the 2003 Israel Prize, and the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (shared with Hershko and Rose). Among many academies, Ciechanover is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (Foreign Associate) and the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Up to 20 scientists and leading experts from all over the world and a wide range of disciplines are invited to share insights into their future-changing work at the Falling Walls Conference on 9 November, in front of 700 international guests. In an inspiring, information-packed 15 minutes each, speakers present the core of their breakthroughs – which walls are they helping to tear down and how will it transform our lives?

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