Alexander Varshavsky
  • 2000 Albert-Lasker Basic Medical Research Award


2000 Albert-Lasker Basic Medical Research Award Russian-American biochemist. In 2000, Dr Varshavsky won the Albert-Lasker Basic Medical Research Award with Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, for “their pioneering work that led to the discovery of the ubiquitin pathway that is responsible for intracellular proteolysis.”

Education and Work Experience

1973, Biochemistry Ph.D., Institute of Molecular Biology, Moscow
1992-2017, Howard and Gwen Lawry Smits Professor of Cell Biology, Division of Biology, Caltech
2014-Present, Member of Breakthrough Prize Committee
2017-Present, Thomas Hunt Morgan Professor of Biology, Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, Caltech

Honors and Awards

1999, Canada Gairdner International Award
2000, Albert-Lasker Basic Medical Research Award 2001, Wolf Prize in Medicine
2014, Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

Major Academic Achievements

By means of genetic research carried out with yeast and cell cultures of higher organisms, Alexander Varshavsky has made a decisive contribution to discovering the importance of the ubiquitin-dependent intracellular protein degradation, which plays a central role in many regulatory processes such as, for instance, in the cell cycle, in malignant transformation,
in the regulation of inflammation, immune response, and many other biological processes. The major contributions made by the Varshavsky laboratory include discovering the first and major biological functions of the ubiquitin system, the first degradation signals in short-lived proteins, and cloning the first ubiquitin ligases. Ubiquitylation marks proteins for degradation by the 26S proteasome. Specific malfunctions in the ubiquitin system play major roles in many human diseases, including cancer and neurodegeneration syndromes.