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The two Nobel Prize laureates, Avraham Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, began working on their research into the ubiquitin system in 1981 when Hershko oversaw Ciechanover's doctoral thesis in science at the medical school of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa.

In 2000, the two received the prestigious Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in New York, together with Alexander Varshavsky of the California Institute of Technology.

Hershko was born in the small town of Karcag in Hungary in 1937. Twelve years later, he immigrated to Israel with his parents and siblings.

In 1956, Hershko began studying medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's medical school and from 1965-67 served as a physician in the army. In 1969, he was awarded a doctorate in biochemistry from the Hebrew University. That year, Hershko went to the University of California for post-doctoral research, and it was there that he began his seminal studies on the ubiquitin system.

In 1994, Hershko was awarded the Israel Prize and in 1998 he was appointed head of the Technion's Rappaport Institute of Medical Research.

Hershko was appointed a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences in 2000 and in 2003 was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. He also received the Wolf Prize for medicine in 2001.

Hershko is married with three sons and five grandchildren, whom he calls "my major achievements."

Aaron Ciechanover was born in Haifa in 1947 to parents who immigrated here from Poland before World War II. His father, Yitzhak, was a lawyer and his mother, Bluma, an English teacher. He was orphaned at a young age and brought up by his Aunt Miriam and his eldest brother, Joseph, who became legal adviser to the Defense Ministry and director-general of the Foreign Ministry.

Ciechanover began studying medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1965 within the framework of his military service and from 1973-76 served as a combat physician and later in medical research. In 1970, he also began a master's program in basic science at Hebrew University and between 1981 and 1984, did post-doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. Between 1994 and 2000, he headed the Technion's Rappaport Institute for Medical Research. He was also awarded the Israel Prize for biology in 2003.