Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Chaim Cedar

Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2009 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Life Sciences
In Field: Cancer research

Cancer Research

Prof. Chaim Cedar

Jury Statement

“For his pioneering scientific contribution to understanding the significance of epigenetics in the regulation of gene expression and for deciphering the role of DNA methylation in cancer.”


Prof. Chaim (Howard) Cedar was born in New York in 1943.

He completed his B.Sc. at MIT. In 1970 he completed his MD/PhD at the University of New York under the supervision of Dr. James Schwartz and then was a postdoctoral student with Dr. Eric Kandel. In 1973, after two years as research fellow at the American National Institutes of Health (NIH) with Dr Gary Felsenfeld, he made aliyah and joined the School of Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1981 he was appointed professor in the Department of Cellular Chemistry and Human Genetics. His pioneering studies, carried out with Prof. Aharon Razin, had a major impact in the fields of developmental biology, control of gene expression, epigenetics and cancer research. Their earlier experiments helped determine gene metyhlation patterns and their correlation with the repression of gene expression.

They later linked these patterns to histone modifications associated with gene silencing. Another important contribution of theirs was to demonstrate the way in which DNA methylation patterns are established, erased and re-generated in sperm cells, ova and in early fetal development.

In 2008, together with Prof. Aharon Razin, he won the Wolf Prize in Medicine for their discovery of the role of methylation in the control of gene expression in higher organisms. His work won him other awards, including the Israel Prize for Biology (1991) and the Hestrin Prize from the Israel Biochemical Society (1979). In 2003 he was elected a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences.