Ada Yonath focuses on the translation of the genetic code to proteins by ribosomes, on antibiotics paralyzing this biosynthetic process, on the global problems relating to antibiotic resistance, on the design novel antibiotics and on the origin of life.
She graduated from Hebrew University (1964), earned her PhD from Weizmann Institute (1968) and completed postdoctoral studies at Mellon-Institute and MIT, USA. In 1971 she established the first biological-crystallography laboratory in Israel, which was the only lab of this kind in the country for almost a decade. Since then, she has been a faculty member at the Weizmann Institute, were she is also the Director of Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structures. In parallel, in 1978 she spent a Sabbatical year in the University of Chicago, and during 1980-2004 she headed the Max-Planck-Research-Unit for Ribosome Structure in Hamburg while collaborating with Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin.
Among others, she is a member of the US-National-Academy-of-Sciences; Israel Academy of Sciences-and-Humanities; German Academy for Sciences (Leopoldina); European Molecular Biology Organization; Pontifical (Vatican) Academy of Sciences; Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology. She holds honorary doctorates from over 20 universities worldwide, in USA, Latin America, Europe and the Far East.
Her awards include the Israel Prize; Linus Pauling Gold Medal; Albert Einstein World Award for Excellence; UNESCO-L’Oréal Award for Woman in science; Wolf Prize; the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize; Erice Peace Prize; Indian Prime-minister medal and the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.