Chen Davidovich 2007-2008

Institution of PhD:
Weizmann Institute of Science
Academic Discipline of PhD:
Structural Biology
PhD Advisor/s:
Prof. Ada Yonath
Dissertation Topic:
Ribosome Structure and Function
Year Awarded PhD:
Institution of Postdoc:
University of Colorado
Present Institution:
Monash University
Present Academic Position:
Senior Research Fellow

Chen Davidovich is a Chemist and Senior Research Fellow, EMBL Australia Group Leader at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biomedical Sciences, Monash University. His lab  seeks to understand, down to atomic resolution, how PcG proteins’ function is modulated by their environment and their various binding partners.

Prior to this Chen was a postdoctoral fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, in the Thomas Cech Lab. His research focused on studying the recruitment of chromatin remodeling factors by long noncoding RNAs for epigenetic silencing, using molecular biology, bioinformatics, structural biology and biochemical approaches. Chens postdoctoral work was done as a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow and as a Rothschild Postdoctoral Fellow.

Chen received his PhD in 2010 from the Weizmann Institute of Technology for his research thesis, “Ribosome Structure and Function”,which was written under the supervision of Nobel Laureate Prof. Ada Yonath. Chen was awarded the Teva Prize for PhD students by the Israel Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and his thesis won the Springer Theses Award for outstanding PhD research.

In his PhD, Chen determined that the three-dimensional structures of three ribosomal complexes with antibiotics form the pleuromutilin family. He discovered that the accommodation of antibiotics occurs by induced fit utilizing the ribosomes’ inherent functional flexibility, and that resistance to pleuromutilins is based on remote interactions in the vicinity of the active site, and not within it. These discoveries provided unique information about ribosome function and invaluable data for clinical application.

Chen likes to employ a multidisciplinary approach in order to answer a given biological question, applying fields such as structural biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and bioinformatics.

Chen has been widely published in a variety of scientific journals including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, Biochemical Society Transactions, Biotechnologia and Nature structural & Molecular Biology.