Alexander J. Varshavsky PhD

Recipient of the Canada Gairdner International Award, 1999
"For the discovery of the ubiquitin system of intracellular protein degradation and its many functions in the cell."

Pasadena, California, USA


The Howard and Gwen Laurie Smits Professor of Cell Biology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Dr. Varshavsky obtained his BSc in Chemistry from Moscow State University in 1970 and his PhD in Biochemistry from the Institute of Molecular Biology in Moscow in 1974. From 1974 to 1977, Dr. Varshavsky directed a research group at the Institute of Molecular Biology. In 1977, he emigrated to the United States to join the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Varshavsky was appointed Associate Professor in 1980 and Professor in 1986. By genetic analysis in yeast and mammalian tissue culture cells, Dr. Varshavsky elucidated many of the essential roles of the ubiquitin pathway in cellular function. He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1995 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1987. He was awarded a National Institutes of Health Merit Award and the Novartis-Drew Award in Biomedical Science in 1998. Dr. Varshavsky moved his laboratory to the California Institute of Technology in 1992.