Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Giora Simchen

Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2013 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Life Sciences
In Field: Genetics

Investigations on meiosis, the sexual cell division

Prof. Giora Simchen

Jury Statement

“For his fundamental investigations on meiosis, the sexual cell division that leads to the formation of male and female gametes, which involves recombination between chromosomes through DNA breakage and repair and results in reduction of chromosome number to half the number found in normal cells.”


Was born in Jerusalem in 1939.  

After military service he received his BSc in Biology, 1962, and MSc in Genetics, 1963, from the Hebrew University. He completed his PhD in Genetics at the University of Birmingham (UK) in 1965 and received his Doctor of Science (DSc) in 1978. He was appointed Senior Lecturer (1967), Associate Professor (1972) and Professor (1978) at the Hebrew University.

His early work dealt with molecular genetics of budding yeast as a model organism and focused on cell division and meiosis, with emphasis on DNA repair and recombination, chromosome segregation and gene regulation.  He characterized the roles of CDC genes in meiosis, identified stages of meiotic commitment, discovered the genetic control of initiation of meiosis, and identified DNA breaks that initiate recombination and the chromosomal distribution of these breaks. Recently he identified the repair of DNA breaks in meiosis as the possible source of new mutations. He has published 120 peer-reviewed papers.

He held key positions at the Hebrew University, including being Chairman of various principal committees. He trained and supervised a large number of PhD and MSc students who currently hold academic appointments at almost all of the universities and research institutions in Israel. He was active in scientific societies, including being Chairman of the Israel Genetics Society and Council Member of EMBO, organized various international meetings and symposia, including the bi-annual meetings on Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology (1980-1999) and two Jacques Monod Conferences (1999, 2001). He was Visiting Professor or Visiting Scientist at the University of Washington, Harvard University, MIT, Johns Hopkins University, University of Munich, University of British Columbia, ICRF (London), Curie Institut (Paris) and NCBS (Bangalore, India). He received the Rosalind Franklin Award, The Michael Landau Prize for Research in Biology and the Henri de Rothschild - Yvette Mayent Award (Institut Curie, Paris).