Professor Ada Yonath is currently The Martin S. and Helen Kimmel Professor of Structural Biology and Director of The Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Stucture and Assembly at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.
Professor Yonath is a crystallographer best known for her pioneering work in which she determined the structure of the ribosome. In 2009, Professor Yonath was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this break through discovery. She is the first Israeli woman to win the Nobel Prize out of a total of 10 Nobel laureates and the first woman from the Middle East to win a Nobel Prize in the sciences. Professor Yonath is the first woman in 45 years to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The huge significance of Professor Ada Yonath's scientific contribution cannot be understated. The ribosome is central to life and is present in all living cells, both eukaryotic and prokaryotic. It is a complex molecular machine that is the main site for the biosynthesis of the proteins that sustain living organisms, from humans to bacteria. In revealing the structure of the ribosome, Professor Yonath has provided a clearer understanding of its function and how current antibiotics work. This understanding should lead to the development of new drugs for targeting infection in the new era of antibiotic resistant bacteria.