Yotam Drier

Krill Prize 2023
The Hebrew University

Yotam Drier

 

Affiliation at the time of the award:

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Faculty of Medicine, Department of Immunology and Cancer Research

 

Award citation:

“for original contributions in the field of cancer research and their combination with the development of new algorithms for data analysis, the development of new experimental methods and the prediction of relevant changes”.

 

Cells tightly regulate the levels of each gene, and dysregulation can lead to diseases such as cancer. Dysregulation can be caused by genetic alterations, epigenetic alterations (chemical modifications on the DNA), or changes in chromosomal folding. Our chromosomes are extremely long linear DNA molecules, folded neatly into the cell nucleus, and this structure is important for proper gene regulation. While the role of genetic alterations in genes in disease is well understood, much less is known about epigenetic and structural alterations

In Dr. Dreyer’s laboratory, they aim to fill this knowledge gap by studying these alterations in multiple cancer types and a few genetic diseases. They combine experimental techniques to systematically characterize epigenomes and chromosomal folding, computational algorithms to integrate these data and predict events that drive disease, and experimental validation of these predictions.

Leeat Keren

Krill Prize 2023
Weizmann

Leeat Keren

 

Affiliation at the time of the award:

Weizmann Institute of science

Faculty of Biology, Department of Molecular Biology of the Cell

 

Award citation:

“for the development of innovative technologies for molecular imaging and for revealing the defense mechanisms of cancer tumor cells against an immune response, with the aim of developing innovative treatments for cancer”.

 

The development of cancer is a complex process that depends on the interrelationships between the individual cells of the tumor, the cells around it and the immune system – which can act both to promote and to suppress the invasion and development of the tumor. All participants are thought to be important in tumor biology, yet their interactions and relative contributions are largely unknown.

In Dr. Keren’s laboratory, they study the way in which different cells of the tumor and the immune system communicate as a system to collectively define the development of cancer and results as a response to treatment. For this purpose, Dr. Keren’s laboratory develops innovative technologies to perform complex imaging, which provides unparalleled molecular observation both on the tumor and on immune cells. In the laboratory, samples are taken from patients to identify mechanisms that help the tumor cells to successfully escape the immune response, and also develop innovative treatments in order to direct the power of the immune system against cancer.

Jeffery W. Kelly

Wolf Prize Laureate in Chemistry 2023

Jeffery W. Kelly

 

Affiliation at the time of the award:

Scripps Research Institute, USA

 

Award citation:

“for developing a clinical strategy to ameliorate pathological protein aggregation”.

 

Prize share:

Jeffery W. Kelly

Chuan He

Hiroaki Suga

 

“for pioneering discoveries that illuminate the functions and pathological dysfunctions of RNA and proteins and for creating strategies to harness the capabilities of these biopolymers in new ways to ameliorate human diseases”.

 

Prof. Jeffery W. Kelly is the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. Kelly received his BS in chemistry from the State University of New York at Fredonia, his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1986), and performed postdoctoral research in bio-organic chemistry at Rockefeller University (1989).

Most protein molecules must fold into defined three-dimensional structures to acquire their functional activity. However, some proteins can adopt several folding states, and their biologically active state may be only marginally stable. Misfolded proteins can form toxic aggregates, such as soluble oligomers and fibrillar amyloid deposits, which may lead to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and many other pathologies. All cells contain an extensive protein homeostasis network of protein folding devices, such as molecular chaperones and other factors that prevent or regulate protein aggregation. These defense networks tend to decline during aging, facilitating the manifestation of aggregate deposition diseases.

Prof. Kelly’s research focuses on understanding protein folding, misfolding, and aggregation and using chemical and biological approaches to develop novel therapeutic strategies to combat diseases caused by protein misfolding and aggregation. He contributed significantly to the fight against neurodegenerative diseases by discovering the mechanism of protein aggregation in amyloid diseases that affect the heart and nervous system. He showed the mechanism by which a protein, transthyretin, unravels and agglomerates into clusters that kill cells, tissues, and ultimately patients and developed a molecular approach to stabilize this protein.
Kelly successfully synthesized the first regulatory-agency-approved drug, “tafamidis vyndaqel”. This pioneering drug, marketed worldwide, significantly slows the progression of Familial Amyloid Polyneuropathy, a neurodegenerative disease, and Familial and Sporadic TTR Cardiomyopathy disease, which causes heart failure.

Jeffery W. Kelly is awarded the Wolf prize for developing a new and clinically impactful strategy to ameliorate disease caused by pathological protein aggregation. His seminal contributions revealed fundamental features of protein homeostasis (proteostasis) at the molecular level, including the interplay among protein folding, misfolding, and aggregation. Dysregulation of proteostasis is associated with a spectrum of human diseases. Kelly’s laboratory used these fundamental insights to develop the drug “tafamidis”, which halts or slows disease progression in patients suffering from transthyretin amyloidosis. This approach may be applicable to other proteostasis-based disorders.

 

Hiroaki Suga

Wolf Prize Laureate in Chemistry 2023

Hiroaki Suga

 

Affiliation at the time of the award:

The University of Tokyo, Japan

 

Award Citation:

“For developing RNA-based catalysts that revolutionized the discovery of bioactive peptides”.

 

Prize Share:

Hiroaki Suga

Jeffery W. Kelly

Chuan He

 

“for pioneering discoveries that illuminate the functions and pathological dysfunctions of RNA and proteins and for creating strategies to harness the capabilities of these biopolymers in new ways to ameliorate human diseases.”

 

Prof. Suga received his Bachelor of Engineering (1986) and Master of Engineering (1989) from Okayama University, Ph.D. in Chemistry (1994) from MIT, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Suga began his independent career at New York State University at Buffalo (1997-2003). In 2003 he moved to the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the  University of Tokyo. Since 2010 Suga has been a full Professor in the department of chemistry at the University of Tokyo. Currently, he serves as the President of the Chemical Society of Japan.

Prof. Suga’s research interests include bioorganic chemistry, chemical biology, and biotechnology related to RNA, translation, and peptides. As a young researcher, he made significant advances in using RNA-based enzymes, or ribozymes, to incorporate unnatural amino acids into tRNA. This technology, known as the “Flexizyme,” greatly expanded the potential for reprogramming the genetic code. Through additional research on in vitro translation of proteins using reconstituted ribosomes, Prof. Suga could incorporate various unnatural amino acids into expressed peptides to spontaneously produce molecules that form macrocyclic peptides. Prof. Suga used oligonucleotide display and directed evolution to create the RaPID system, a platform for producing and selecting billions of macrocyclic peptides as high-affinity binders to protein targets, including many that had previously been considered undruggable.

In 2006, Prof. Suga co-founded PeptiDream to advance and apply the RaPID system, which quickly became a widely used technology for finding small molecule protein binders, particularly disrupting protein-protein interactions. His discoveries have enabled the construction of complex molecules on a large scale, not possible using conventional methods alone. Suga’s work has produced more unique non-natural molecules than other approachs, which possess the unique stereochemistry, rich functional group density, and 3D-architecture necessary for interrogating and controlling biological processes. This paved the way for a new generation of drugs. PeptiDream became a publicly traded company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and is one of Japan’s most successful startup companies.

Hiroaki Suga is awarded the Wolf prize for developing an exceptionally innovative in-vitro selection system for cyclic peptides as inhibitors of protein-protein interactions. He invented an RNA-based catalyst, flexizyme, that transcends natural mechanisms and vastly expands the range of amino acids that can be incorporated with ribosomal machinery. Suga’s strategy enables rapid construction and screening of enormous cyclic peptide libraries. His unique discovery has established a new approach to medicinal chemistry and generated new tools for drug discovery.

Richard Long

Wolf Prize Laureate in Arts 2023

Sir Richard Julian Long

 

Award citation:

“for redefining the possibilities of art-making and transforming the parameters of visual art”.

 

Prize share:

Sir Richard Julian Long

Fujiko Nakaya

 

Sir Richard Julian Long is an English sculptor and one of the best-known British land artists. He lives and works in Bristol, the city in which he was born. Long studied at the West of England College of Art (1962-1965) and continued his studies at the St. Martin’s School of Art and Design, London (1966-1968). Considered one of the most influential artists, Richard Long’s works have extended the possibilities of sculpture beyond traditional materials and methods. Long’s works engage with the landscape, investigating nature and his experience within nature. His work is typically displayed with materials or through documentary photographs of his performances and experiences.

When Richard Long was 18, he walked on the downs near his native Bristol. He began rolling a snowball through the snow, and when it became too big to push further, he took out his camera – then, instead of snapshotting the giant snowball, he photographed the dark meandering track it had left in the snow. This image, one of his earliest works of land art, was named “Snowball Track”. He was then a student at the West of England College of Art in Bristol, but he was dismissed from the course because his work was considered too provocative and perhaps ahead of its time.

Walking is central to Long’s work as a way of perceiving and recording landscape; early in his career, he established the precedent that art could be a journey and that a sculpture could be deconstructed over the distance of a journey. Walking as a medium has enabled him to articulate ideas about time and space. He seeks freedom of movement and expression and a balance with the natural world through a physical and personal engagement with the land, working with nature to reflect its impermanence and the changing processes of time. His beguilingly simple works commonly take the form of geometric shapes-circles, lines, ellipses, and spirals and use raw materials,
such as stones and driftwood, found along the way. These works are often simple interventions, marks of passage, and leave little or no trace, and are documented through photographs or text works that record his ideas, observations, and experiences.

Richard Long is awarded the Wolf Prize for being a pioneer of conceptual art centered on personal interaction with the natural world. In 1967, his work A Line Made by Walking introduced a contemporary reimagining of human experience in nature as a subject for art. Over the course of nearly six decades, his solitary walks throughout the world have generated a complex body of work comprising sculptures, photographs, drawings, and texts. The materials for these artworks, echoing the walks themselves, are nature-based: rocks and stones, logs and twigs, mud and soil. The tools of time-marking and map-making, place-naming and record-keeping all figure together to create works that commingle factual observation and artistic invention. Long’s deep engagement with the natural environment as process, subject, material, and vocabulary has established him as a key figure of his generation and one whose work resonates powerfully with present-day concerns.

Yoshiharu Tsukamoto

Wolf Prize Laureate in Architecture 2022

Yoshiharu Tsukamoto

 

Award citation:

“for their work that highlights the importance to architecture of its ethnographic and inhabitational characteristics, in their writings and practice”.

 

Prize share:

Yoshiharu Tsukamoto

Momoyo Kaijima  

Elizabeth Diller

 

At a time of considerable world change, when social and cultural values have been questioned, these three are outstanding in challenging norms to advance the field of architecture and its wider influence. Whilst very different in their production, they share a common vital quality of bringing research, pedagogy and practice into critical confluence for the advancement of their field. In doing so, they reveal the degree to which art, science, and engagement with society, require values that can be interrogated and challenged, as a central part of their contribution. Conscious of the wider affects of architecture, each recipient embodies the idea of collaboration in varied ways, embracing geographic, cultural and methodological differences to be celebrated: excellence through diversity. With their radical architectural visions, they continue to be meaningful influencers of future architectural generations. They have developed the agency of architecture through an expanded field, in engaging politics, the city as the base for social action, and the imperative of reaching broader audiences.

Yoshiharu Tsukamoto was born in the Kanagawa Prefecture and received his Ph.D. in Engineering from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he is currently a professor.

Tsukamoto and Kaijima fostered their partnership after joining forces in competitions where they achieved many successes—so much so—that they decided to found Atelier Bow-Wow in which they continue to thrive.

The prolific work of this Japanese architectural team spans over three decades. They begin each architectural project with observation: the site, those who will eventually inhabit the building, the behavior of the people in the surroundings, shared spaces, resources, and climate. With all this in mind, they will then try to push “that which exists” a bit further to create a new phenomenon.

Since 1992 when Tsukamoto and Kaijima founded their practice, they have consistently shown themselves to be exceptional practitioners, bridging the relationship between research and practice, proposing alternative ways of making architecture focused on its social affects. With the publication of ‘Made In Tokyo’ (2001) the pioneering “Behaviorology” (2010) and ‘Architectural Ethnography’ (2018), they have developed a treatise on how to translate the liminal and in-between spaces of the city into opportunities for public engagement. With a practice that is predominantly residential and adeptly made, their work on behavior gives dominance to design strategies that work bottom-up, looking at human rituals as the basis for design opportunities. This was further tested in their post 2011 tsunami project reconstructing Momonoura village. They have profoundly influenced younger generations alternative human-centered approaches to the urban environment.

Momoyo Kaijima

Wolf Prize Laureate in Architecture 2022

Momoyo Kaijima

 

Award citation:

“for their work that highlights the importance to architecture of its ethnographic and inhabitational characteristics, in their writings and practice”.

 

Prize share:

Momoyo Kaijima  

Yoshiharu Tsukamoto

Elizabeth Diller

 

At a time of considerable world change, when social and cultural values have been questioned, these three are outstanding in challenging norms to advance the field of architecture and its wider influence. Whilst very different in their production, they share a common vital quality of bringing research, pedagogy and practice into critical confluence for the advancement of their field. In doing so, they reveal the degree to which art, science, and engagement with society, require values that can be interrogated and challenged, as a central part of their contribution. Conscious of the wider affects of architecture, each recipient embodies the idea of collaboration in varied ways, embracing geographic, cultural and methodological differences to be celebrated: excellence through diversity. With their radical architectural visions, they continue to be meaningful influencers of future architectural generations. They have developed the agency of architecture through an expanded field, in engaging politics, the city as the base for social action, and the imperative of reaching broader audiences.

Momoyo Kaijima is Tokyo-born and completed her Architecture degree at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, at which she later received her doctorate, as well. Today Kaijima is a Prof. of Architectural Behaviorology at ETH Zurich.

Kaijima and Tsukamoto fostered their partnership after joining forces in competitions where they achieved many successes—so much so—that they decided to found Atelier Bow-Wow in which they continue to thrive.

The prolific work of this Japanese architectural team spans over three decades. They begin each architectural project with observation: the site, those who will eventually inhabit the building, the behavior of the people in the surroundings, shared spaces, resources, and climate. With all this in mind, they will then try to push “that which exists” a bit further to create a new phenomenon.

Since 1992 when Tsukamoto and Kaijima founded their practice, they have consistently shown themselves to be exceptional practitioners, bridging the relationship between research and practice, proposing alternative ways of making architecture focused on its social affects. With the publication of “Made In Tokyo” (2001) the pioneering “Behaviorology” (2010) and “Architectural Ethnography” (2018), they have developed a treatise on how to translate the liminal and in-between spaces of the city into opportunities for public engagement. With a practice that is predominantly residential and adeptly made, their work on behavior gives dominance to design strategies that work bottom-up, looking at human rituals as the basis for design opportunities. This was further tested in their post 2011 tsunami project reconstructing Momonoura village. They have profoundly influenced younger generations alternative human-centered approaches to the urban environment.

George Lusztig

Wolf Prize Laureate in Mathematics 2022

George Lusztig

 

Affiliation at the time of the award:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

 

Award citation:

“for Groundbreaking contributions to representation theory and related areas”.

 

Prize share:

None

 

Lusztig is a Romanian-American mathematician, who works on geometric finite reductive groups, representation theory and algebraic groups. Lusztig’s work is characterized by a very high degree of originality, an enormous breadth of subject matter, remarkable technical virtuosity, and great profundity in getting to the heart of the problems involved. Lusztig’s groundbreaking contributions mark him as one of the great mathematicians of our time.

His passion for mathematics began at a young age. In fact, it was in math competitions at school which made him realize that he was talented in mathematics. After finishing 10th grade, Lusztig represented Romania in the International Mathematical Olympiad in 1962 and then again, in 1963: being awarded a Silver Medal on both occasions. Lusztig graduated from the University of Bucharest in 1968 and received both the M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1971 under the direction of Michael Atiyah and William Browder. He joined the MIT mathematics faculty in 1978 following a professorship appointment at the University of Warwick, 1974-77. He was appointed Norbert Wiener Professor at MIT 1999-2009.

Lusztig is known for his work on representation theory, in particular for the objects closely related to algebraic groups, such as finite reductive groups, Hecke algebras, P-adic groups, quantum groups, and Weyl groups. He essentially paved the way for modern representation theory. This has included fundamental new concepts, including the character sheaves, the “Deligne–Lusztig” varieties, and the “Kazhdan–Lusztig” polynomials.

Lusztig’s first breakthrough came with Deligne around 1975, with the construction of Deligne-Lusztig representations. He then obtained a complete description of the irreducible representations of reductive groups over finite fields. Lusztig’s description of the character table of a finite reductive group rates as one of the most  extraordinary achievements of a single mathematician in the 20th century. To achieve his goal, he developed a panoply of techniques which are in use today by hundreds of mathematicians. The highlights include the use of étale cohomology; the role played by the dual group; the use of intersection cohomology, and the ensuing theory of character sheaves, almost characters, and the noncommutative Fourier transform.

In 1979 Kazhdan and Lusztig defined the “Kazhdan-Lusztig” basis of the Hecke algebra of a Coxeter group and stated the “Kazhdan-Lusztig” conjecture. The “Kazhdan-Lusztig” conjecture led directly to the “Beilinson-Bernstein” localization theorem, which four decades later, remains our most powerful tool for understanding representations
of reductive Lie algebras. Lusztig’s work with Vogan then introduced a variant of the “Kazhdan-Lusztig” algorithm to produce “Lusztig-Vogan” polynomials. These polynomials are fundamental to our understanding of real reductive groups and their unitary representations.

In the 1990s, Lusztig made seminal contributions to the theory of quantum groups. His contributions include the introduction of the canonical basis; the introduction of the Lusztig form (which allows specialization to a root of unity, and connections to modular representations); the quantum Frobenius and a small quantum group; and connections to the representation theory of affine Lie algebras. Lusztig’s theory of the canonical basis (and Kashiwara’s parallel theory of crystal bases) has led to deep results in combinatorics and representation theory. Recently there has been significant progress in representation theory and low-dimensional topology via “categorification”; the roots of this work go back to Lusztig’s geometric categorification of quantum groups via perverse sheaves on quiver moduli.