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An “Intimate” Date with Nobelist —Prof. Avram Hershko Attends Colloquia with ASIPP Young Scientists
Date: 2016/05/06 Author: LI Jun

“It's such a rare opportunity to communicate with the Nobelist that we benefit a lot!” This might be the common feeling of hundreds of youth who participated in the activity “Face to Face with the Nobelist---- Avram Hershko” in ASIPP.

In the morning of 31st March, Professor Avram Hershko, the winner of Nobel Prize in chemistry, was invited to share his research and life experience with ASIPP young scientists.

After humorous and brief opening remarks, Professor Hershko made a speech about his experience and understading of scientific research. Firstly, he introduced his academic life and scientific research, benefits that he got from his research, and the relationship between scientific research and his daily life. Then he explained to the audience how he discovered the ubiquitin-mediated?protein?degradation, the main mechanism of it, and its significance in DNA repairing and controlling & treating human diseases. Lastly, he illustrated the importance for researchers to find proper research topic with his own story, “In the past decades, biochemist devoted themselves to exploring about how the various proteins produced by cells. However, few cared about how the proteins are destroyed.”

Soon as the speech finished, Professor Hershko communicated a lot with researchers and postgraduate presented. He listened carefully to their questions and interacted with them. The conversation covered scientific research, personal life, education, career and so on. As a confident scientist, he regarded scientific research as a way to satisfy his curiosity to science, not for pursuing Nobel Prize. 79 years old as he is, Professor Hershko works in the lab every day from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. As a persevering Jew, he thinks it was of priority to set up family with the right person and to accompany children grow up. He believes that love would bring understanding and toleration, and is the biggest boost for him to focus on his research. When it comes to education, he encourages the youth to work for what they really love as interest is the inspiration for enduring motivation.

With a question put forward by a postgraduate, “What should we do if we feel bored when we encounter setbacks during scientific research?" Professor Hershk smiled, saying “We will encounter problems no matter what we do. The point is, we should choose what we love and stick to it. Neither setbacks nor doubts should be an excuse to stop a researcher from scientific research.”

“I’ve never dreamed about having a face-to-face with a Nobelist. His kindness brought us closer.” “I realized that the scientific spirit of the Nobelist is worthy of promoting. As star chasers, we should chase for great scientific stars just like Professor Hershko.”

Personal profile: Avram Hershko was born in 1937. As an Israeli and Swiss, he is a famous biochemist and medical scientist, a member of Israeli and American academy of science, and the foreign academician of Chinese academy of science. His main research interests concern the mechanisms by which cellular proteins are degraded, a formerly neglected field of study. Hershko and his colleagues showed that cellular proteins are degraded by a highly selective system. In 2004, Professor Hershko won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the ubiquitin - mediated protein degradation. Ubiquitin – mediate can explain the biochemical mechanism of cancer, and boasts great medical value for instructing DNA repairing and destroying cancer cells.

Image by YE Hualong

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