Weizmann Scientists Honored for Research Achievements


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Prof. Sharon shakes hands with the President of Israel, Mr. Ezer Weizman at the Israel Prize Ceremony. To Weizman's left are Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Minister of Science and the Arts Shulamit Aloni

Institute Prof. Nathan Sharon, world famous for his research on sugars and the sugar-binding proteins known as lectins, was awarded the 1994 Israel Prize in the Life Sciences at a festive Independence Day ceremony in Jerusalem.

Sharon, the sixteenth Institute scientist to receive an Israel Prize, has played a crucial role in showing that sugar-lectin interactions are instrumental in allowing cells to recognize one another. Such interactions take place when disease-causing bacteria adhere to tissues or when immune cells destroy infectious organisms. An understanding of these processes may assist in the development of novel antimicrobial drugs, which would work by preventing infectious organisms from adhering to body tissues.

Prof. Sharon has also helped achieve major advances in bone marrow transplantation.

Sharon was honored not only for his scientific achievements, but also for the key role he has played in the popularization of science in Israel and elsewhere.

Other Institute scientists honored of late include:
  • Prof. Mati Fridkin, together with Prof. Ilana Gozes of Tel Aviv University received the Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Prize for pioneering work on vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP);
  • Prof. Harry (Zvi) Lipkin was given a Weizmann Prize of the City of Tel Aviv for his life work in diverse areas of physics, including the physics of elementary particles, nuclear physics, and condensed-matter physics;
  • Prof. David Mirelman was presented with Prof. Israel Sarov Prize of the Israel Society of Microbiology for his contributions to research on the virulence mechanisms of parasitic amoebas;
  • Profs. Moshe Oren and Varda Rotter received the Feher Prize in Medicine for their research on the p53 tumor suppresor gene;
  • Prof. Shmuel Shaltiel was awarded the Rothschild Prize for his pioneering work in the development of hydrophobic chromatography, for his contributions to the elucidation of the molecular basis of enzyme-driven covalent control by kinases and proteinases, and for his original contribution to understanding the role of enzymes in the control of plasminogen activation during the dissolution of blood clots;
  • Prof. Adi Shamir received the Rothschild Prize for his outstanding achievements and contributions to the mathematical theory of cryptography and cryptanalysis; and
  • Prof. Izchak Steinberg was awarded a Weizmann Prize of the City of Tel Aviv for his contributions to the development of sophisticated physicochemical techniques for studying the structure and mode of operation of biomolecules and for quantitatively solving basic neurobiological processes.