WilchekProfessor at the Weizmann Institute of Science
Member of the Israel Academy of Science
Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science USA

B.Sc. degree in chemistry and physics: University of Bar-Ilan, Israel
Ph.D in Biophysics: Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Research Interests:

  • Development of affinity chromatography for purification of biologically active molecules
  • Avidin- biotin system which has a major impact in the fields of chemistry, biology, medicine and nanotechnology
  • Conversion of serines to cysteines, and involvement with energy transfer studies between aromatic amino acids chromophores, an approach known today as FRET

Prof. Meir Wilchek was born in 1935 in Warsaw, Poland. In 1949 he came to Israel from Germany. He received his B.Sc. degree in chemistry and physics from the University of Bar-Ilan in 1960 and his Ph.D. from the Department of Biophysics, Weizmann Institute of Science in 1965, where he also served as Head of the Department, Chairman of the Scientific Promotions Committee, and Dean of the Faculty for Biophysics-Biochemistry. He has been Invited Speaker at many conferences in the field of molecular recognition and its applications in chemical and biological systems. He is best known for the development of affinity chromatography for purification of biologically active molecules and the avidin-biotin system, which has a major impact in the fields of chemistry, biology, medicine and nanotechnology. He has published over 400 scientific works and acted as Advisor to many biotechnology companies in Israel and abroad. He has served as Chairman and a member of many scientific committees. In addition, he serves as Editor and Member of the Editorial Board of a variety of international scientific journals, and is a member of many scientific societies, including the Israel Academy of Science and The Institute of Medicine -American Academy of Science. His work and research have awarded him many prizes, among them: the Rothschild Prize in Chemistry; The Wolf Foundation Prize for Medicine, The Pierce Prize for Biorecognition Technology; The Israel Prize for Biotechnology,The EMET prize in Chemistry, the Sarstedt Prize, the International Distinguished Clinical Chemistry Award, the Anfinsen award in protein science, the Wilhelm –Exner medal, as well as Honorary Doctorate awards in Canada, Finland and Israel. 2011 Israel chemical society gold medal (international year of chemistry).

Selected publications:

  1. Cuatrecasas, P.,  Wilchek, M.  and  Anfinsen, C.B.  (1968)  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 61, 636-643. Selective enzyme purification by affinity chromatography. PMID: 4971842
  2. Wilchek, M., Salomon, Y., Lowe, M. and Selinger, Z.  (1971) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 45, 1177-1184.  Conversion of protein kinase to a cyclic AMP independent  form by affinity chromatography on Nº-caproyl 3',5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate-Sepharose. PMID: 4332593
  3. Bayer, E.A.,  Wilchek, M.  and  Skutelsky, E.  (1976) FEBS  Lett. 68, 240-244.  Affinity cytochemistry: the  localization of lectin and antibody receptors on  erythrocytes via the avidin-biotin complex. PMID: 976475
  4. Wilchek, M.  and  Bayer, E.A.  (1988) Anal. Biochem. 171, 1-32.  The avidin-biotin complex in bioanalytical  applications. PMID: 3044183
  5. Livnah, O., Bayer, E.A., Wilchek, M. and Sussman, J.  (1993)  Three-dimensional structures of avidin and the  avidin-biotin complex. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 90, 5076-5080. PMID: 8506353
  6. Wilchek M, Bayer EA, Livnah O. (2006) Essentials of biorecognition: the (strept)avidin-biotin system as a model for protein-protein and protein-ligand interaction. Immunol Lett. 103:27-32. PMID: 16325268

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