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May 21, 2014

Discovery of the Biology of the Ubiquitin System

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
JAMA. 2014;311(19):1969-1970. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.5549

The 2014 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research has been awarded to Dr Alexander Varshavsky in recognition of major scientific contributions to the biological sciences. This Viewpoint provides a summary of those discoveries, including the history of early research on the ubiquitin system and intracellular protein degradation, and discusses the implications of these scientific advances for medicine.

This article, about the discovery of the biology of the ubiquitin system, describes my laboratory’s main contribution to date, and stems, in part, from previous historical summaries.13 Another antecedent is the interview given in 2006 to Dr Istvan Hargittai, a distinguished Hungarian chemist. It described my life and science, including the early years in Moscow (Russia), the 1977 emigration from the former Soviet Union to the United States, and scientific work that ensued.4

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