Ada Yonath pioneer in ribosome structure | developed cryo technique for proteins

Ada Yonath – pioneer in ribosome structure

Article on Ada Yonath

Biography & contributions

Ada Yonath [Ada E. Yonath ], Israeli protein crystallographer and Nobel laureate is born on June 22, 1939. She has done major research work on atomic structure and function of ribosomes.

Yonath is the winner of most notable awards and medals like European crystallography prize in the year of 2000, Israel prize in the year of 2002, Wolf prize in chemistry in the year of 2006, Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig darmstaedter prize in the year of 2007, Nobel Prize in chemistry in the year of 2009.

Other awards and medals include Harvey prize from Technion - israel institute of technology, F.A. Cotton Medal for excellence in chemical research of the american chemical society, Anfinsen Award from international protein society, Massry Prize Keck School of medicine.

Yonath is the developer of new technique called cryo bio-crystallography for proteins and also done research work on antibiotics structures.

She was the first scientist to observe and unravel the internal architecture of a large ribosomal subunit. Yonath also showed that the ribosome is a ribozyme that places its substrates in stereochemistry suitable for peptide bond formation and for substrate-mediated catalysis.

Cryo bio-crystallography

Cryo bio-crystallography is the application of crystallography at cryogenic temperatures. Cryo crystallography enables X-ray data collection at cryogenic, near liquid nitrogen temperatures. This technique has following advantages

  • Lack of radiation damage
  • Increased crystal lifetime
  • Increased resolution
  • Lower x-ray background


  • Increased mosaicity
  • Icing
  • Need cryprotectants
  • Lack of isomorphism

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