1996 Distinguished Clinical Chemist award


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REHOVOT, Israel. The Weizmann Institute's Professor Meir Wilchek has been named the 1996 winner of the prestigious Distinguished Clinical Chemist Award, given every three years by the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry.
Professor Meir Wilchek
Prof. Wilchek, who revolutionized the purification of biochemicals, will be presented with the award on July 7 at the opening ceremony of the Federation s triennial international congress being held in London on July 7 - 12.

Working with Prof. Pedro Cuatrecasas of the U.S., Prof. Wilchek pioneered a technique known as affinity chromatography, which makes it possible to extract and purify even the most minute quantities of biochemicals from complex chemical mixtures. As well as being of great importance for biological research, the method has the potential to improve medical treatments, enabling anti-cancer drugs, for example, to reach specific sites in the body without affecting other organs.

Prof. Wilchek, of the Institute's Membrane Research and Biophysics Department, also played a major role in the development of the remarkable biomolecular "superglue" that has generated a multimillion-dollar market in areas from pollution control to disease diagnosis. The glue is based on the strongest biological interaction known in nature -- the attraction of the vitamin biotin to the protein avidin.

Holder of the Marc R. Gutwirth Chair of Molecular Biology at the Weizmann Institute, Prof. Wilchek has also received the Wolf Prize in Medicine, the Israel Prize in Life Sciences and Biotechnology, the Pierce Award in Affinity Chromatography, the Rothschild Prize in Chemistry and the Sarstedt Prize for the avidin-biotin system. He is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the only Israeli to be elected a Foreign Associate Member in the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

The International Federation of Clinical Chemistry, which was founded in the 1950s with the aim of advancing clinical chemistry around the world, is made up of member societies from more than 60 countries, representing more than 27,000 clinical chemists. The Federation has bestowed its Distinguished Clinical Chemist Award triennially since 1969 to honor an individual who has made outstanding contributions to clinical chemistry or the application of the field to medical problems. The award is sponsored by the Bayer Corporation (formerly Miles Laboratories Inc.).

The Weizmann Institute of Science is a major center of scientific research and graduate study located in Rehovot, Israel.