© The Nobel Foundation
Irwin Rose

American Jewish Recipients of the Nobel Prize

Irwin Rose: Pulitzer Prize in
Chemistry Recipient-2004

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Irwin Rose is an American Jewish recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, in 2004, which he shared with Aaron Clechanover and Avram Hershko, both of Israel, for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation. All three scientists will share the $1.36 million award.

He was born on July 16, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York. He was the son of Ella and Harry Rose. They were secular Jews and Irwin attended Hebrew School. When he was thirteen, his family moved to Spokane, Washington, because the dry air would be best for his brother, who had rheumatic fever. His father stayed behind to take care of his flooring business.

Rose started his undergraduate studies at Washington State College, which was interrupted by World War II. He joined the Navy as a radio technician. When he was discharged, he used his G.I. Bill of Rights to earn his B.S. Degree at Washington State College, in 1949. He then went to the University of Chicago to earn his Ph.D. in biochemistry, in 1952.

Zelda Budenstein and Irwin Rose were married in 1955. It was the same year that she earned a Ph.D. at Yale. She became a biochemist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, where she had her own laboratory studying the metabolism of red blood cells. They had four children: a daughter and three sons.

Irwin Rose joined the faculty of the Yale Medical School’s Department of Biochemistry, 1954-1963. He then became a senior member of the Fox Chase Cancer Center’s division of basic science. In 1979, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He retired from Fox Chase in 1955.
Irwin Rose accepted a special appointment as emeritus researcher at the University of California, at Irvine, in 1997.

Irwin Rose is currently involved with the University of California, College of Medicine.

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