Meir Wilchek, Prof.

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Meir Wilchek, Prof.

Hebrew: מאיר וילצ׳ק, Prof.
Current Location:: Rehovot, Israel
Birthplace: Warsaw, Warszawa, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland
Immediate Family:

Husband of <private> Wilchek (Edelis)
Father of Eli Wilchek

Occupation: Professor of Biochemistry
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Meir Wilchek, Prof.

Meir Wilchek (Hebrew: מאיר אשר וילצ'ק, born 17 October 1935) is an Israeli biochemist. He is a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Early life and education

Meir Wilchek was born in Warsaw, Poland, scion of a rabbinical family. During the Holocaust, he escaped from the German occupied territories to the territories occupied by Russia, and was transferred to Siberia, while his father, who served as a community rabbi in Warsaw was killed in Flossenbürg concentration camp. He survived, and immigrated to Israel in 1949 with his mother and sister. He graduated with B.Sc. in chemistry from Bar Ilan university and Ph. D. in biochemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science. Wilchek has published over 400 scientific papers, and consulted various biotech companies. He was also in the party list of Mafdal and Meimad for the Knesset.

Scientific contributions

Meir Wilchek is known for his research in the field of biorecognition or affinity phenomenon, and its various application, e.g. for affinity chromatography, affinity labeling, affinity therapy, and the avidin-biotin system. The Avidin-biotin complex is the highest affinity interaction in nature, and its utilization to biochemistry integrates all of the former approaches.

Other contributions include conversion of serines to cysteines, and involvement with energy transfer studies between aromatic amino acids chromophores, an approach known today as FRET. He also studied the fine structure of these chromophores using circular dichroism. More recently, he participated in a research team who studied how garlic works at the molecular level, thanks to a unique biotechnological procedure for producing large quantities of pure allicin, garlic's main biologically active component.

Honours and awards

  • 1981-1982 Fogarty International Scholar
  • 1981 Honorary Member of the American Society of Biological Chemistry
  • 1984 Rothschild Prize in Chemistry
  • 1987 Wolf Prize in Medicine, jointly with Pedro Cuatrecasas, "for the invention and development of affinity chromatography and its applications to biomedical sciences."
  • 1987 Pierce Prize for Biorecognition Technology
  • 1988 Elected Member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
  • 1989 Doctor of Science, honoris causa, University of Waterloo, Canada
  • 1989 Barnett Lecturer, Northeastern University, Boston
  • 1990 Israel Prize, in life sciences
  • 1990 Sarstedt Prize (Numbrecht, Germany)
  • 1993 Foreign Associate Member, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Science, USA
  • 1995 Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Bar Ilan University, Israel
  • 1996 International Distinguished Clinical Chemist Award, International Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC)
  • 2000 Doctor of Science, honoris causa, University Jyvaskyla, Finland
  • 2000 Honorary Doctorate, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • 2002 Honorary Citizen, City of Rehovot, Israel
  • 2004 Christian B. Anfinsen Award of The Protein Society
  • 2004 Wilhelm-Exner Medal, OGV, President of Austria
  • 2005 Emet Prize, presented by the Prime Minister of Israel
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Meir Wilchek, Prof.'s Timeline

October 17, 1935
Warsaw, Warszawa, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland