Professor Michael Levitt, Stanford University, and Professor Arieh Warshel, University of Southern California, both USA, have been awarded the 2013 Israel Chemical Society (ICS) Gold Medal, which is the highest honor of the ICS. The medal was presented at an award ceremony in the Knesset, Jerusalem, on February 3, 2014.
Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel are recognized for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems. They were also honored for this work with the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which they received together with Martin Karplus.
Michael Levitt, born 1947 in Pretoria, South Africa, studied physics at King’s College London, UK. He obtained his Ph.D. in Computational Biology from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, UK, in 1972. After working as an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellow with Shneior Lifson at Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, he moved back to the UK where he was appointed as a Staff Scientist at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, from 1974 until 1979. Since 1987, Levitt is Professor of Structural Biology at Stanford University, USA.
Arieh Warshel, born 1940 in Kibbutz Sde Nahum, Israel, received his B.Sc. degree in chemistry with Summa Cum Laude from Technion, Haifa, Israel, in 1966. He gained his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in chemical physics in 1967 and 1969, respectively, under the guidance of Shneior Lifson at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Warshel then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA, until 1972, when he returned to the Weizmann Institute and worked for the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK. In 1976 he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at University of Southern California (USC) where he is Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Selected publications by Levitt:
- Architecture of an RNA Polymerase II Transcription Pre-Initiation Complex,
Kenji Murakami, Hans Elmlund, Nir Kalisman, David A. Bushnell, Christopher M. Adams, Maia Azubel, Dominika Elmlund, Yael Levi-Kalisman, Xin Liu, Brian J. Gibbons, Michael Levitt, Roger D. Kornberg,
Science 2013, 342, 6159.
- The Crystal Structures of the Eukaryotic Chaperonin CCT Reveal Its Functional Partitioning,
Nir Kalisman, Gunnar F. Schröder, Michael Levitt,
Structure 2013, 21, 540–549.
- Comparative modeling and protein-like features of hydrophobic–polar models on a two-dimensional lattice,
Sergio Moreno-Hernández, Michael Levitt,
Proteins: Struct., Funct., Bioinf. 2012, 80, 1683–1693.
Selected publications by Warshel:
- Validating computer simulations of enantioselective catalysis; reproducing the large steric and entropic contributions in Candida Antarctica lipase B,
Patrick Schopf, Arieh Warshel,
Proteins: Struct., Funct., Bioinf. 2014.
- On the Nature of the Apparent Free Energy of Inserting Amino Acids into Membrane through the Translocon,
Anna Rychkova, Arieh Warshel,
J. Phys. Chem. B 2013, 117, 13748–13754.
- Towards Quantitative Computer-Aided Studies of Enzymatic Enantioselectivity: The Case of Candida antarctica Lipase A,
Maria P. Frushicheva, Arieh Warshel,
ChemBioChem 2012, 13, 215–223.