Alexander Varshavsky Wins Prize for Biomedical Science

Alexander VarshavskySept. 8, 2010 -- Alexander Varshavsky, the Howard and Gwen Laurie Smits professor of cell biology at the California Institute of Technology, has won the 2010 Vilcek Prize for Biomedical Science for elucidating the process and biological significance of regulated protein degradation in living cells.

The Vilcek Prize has been awarded annually since 2006 to an established biomedical scientist whose work profoundly has advanced science over the course of his or her career. Varshavsky’s research on ubiquitin led to the discovery of its fundamentally important biological functions in living cells, showing that regulated protein degradation underlies major physiological processes. His laboratory continues to study ubiquitin-dependent processes, with a focus on the N-end rule pathway of protein degradation which relates the in vivo half-life of a protein to the identity of its N-terminal residue.

According to the Vilcek Foundation, “As a pioneer and leader in the field of ubiquitin research who has ushered it into the age of molecular genetics, Dr. Varshavsky also has helped establish this field as one of the most important and ‘ubiquitous’ in biomedical science, a point of convergence for disparate disciplines.”

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