Wiezmann Institute of Science
2012 Laureates of Emet Prize
In Category: Life Sciences
In Field: Physiology
Study of cell death
Was awarded her PhD from Tel Aviv University in 1977.
Four years later she completed her postdoctoral studies at the Department of Virology at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
In 1982 she was appointed senior researcher at the Department of Molecular Genetics.
In 1988 she was promoted to Associate Professor, and nine years later to full professorship. She headed the Department of Molecular Genetics for six years, and today she is chair of the Council of Professors at the Weizmann Institute. She was also a member of the Council for Higher Education in Israel for six years. Her studies focus on the subject of programmed cell-death and on the physiological balance curve of cells in stress conditions. She has isolated new genes (DAP genes), which serve as key factors in cell-death control. Through them she has identified various types of programmed cell death and discovered novel biochemical pathways in which these genes are involved. One of these genes, DAPk, suppresses tumor formation and its loss or inactivation serves as a prognostic marker in many types of cancers. The identification of these genes was made possible thanks to a pioneering technology which she developed, based on a functional-genetic screen by neutralizing the RNA. Her studies have documented the contribution of autophagy in controlling a cell’s decision to live or die. Her work established a strong connectivity between autophagy and apoptosis which occurs through ‘dual function’ proteins which she discovered and through back-up mechanisms which are turned on in response to genetic perturbations.
Over the years Professor Kimchi has published 133 articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as 22 book chapters. Her work has won her many awards, among them the Milstein Award for her unique achievements in the study of interferon and cytokines, the Landau Award, the Jacqueline Seroussi Annual Award and the Teva Prize (the Teva Founders Prize). She is a member of several international organizations dedicated to her field of research.
She was elected to the Academia Europea, to EMBO and to the European Academy of Cancer Sciences. She served as the Weizmann President advisor for advancing women in science