Biochemistry Pioneer Dies

Irwin “Ernie” Rose, who shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation, has passed away at age 88.

Jun 3, 2015
Tracy Vence

Irwin RoseUNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE; PAUL R. KENNEDYBiochemist Irwin “Ernie” Rose, recognized with a share of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation, has died. He was 88.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1926, Rose served in the US Navy during World War II. He earned a bachelor’s degree and PhD in biochemistry from the University of Chicago in 1948 and 1952, respectively, before joining the Yale faculty in 1954. In 1963, he moved to the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, where he worked until his retirement in 1995. In 1997, Rose joined the faculty at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, where he continued his biochemistry research.

“Looking back on my 50 year eclectic journey in research, I am grateful that it has gone as well as it has, although still not clever enough to open the black box of enzyme structure,” Rose noted in his 2004 Nobel Foundation biography. “The approach I have taken was successful, in the least, in attracting outstanding postdocs.”

“We were honored to have Dr. Rose grace the UC Irvine community with his formidable intellect and unwavering curiosity about fundamental biological and chemical processes that are the foundation for life,” university Chancellor Howard Gillman said in a statement following his death.

Predeceased by his daughter, Rose is survived by his wife, three sons, and several grandchildren, according to a UC Irvine spokesperson.