Ada Yonath focuses on genetic code translation by ribosomes, on antibiotics paralyzing this process, on antibiotic resistance, on designing novel antibiotics for resistant pathogenic bacteria and on origin of life. She graduated from Hebrew University, earned her PhD from Weizmann Institute (WIS) and completed postdoctoral studies at CMU 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, and has been a WIS faculty member. Since 1989 she is serving as the Director of Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structures at WIS. In 1978-9 she spent a Sabbatical in Chicago University, and during 1980-2004, in parallel to her WIS activities, she headed the Max-Planck-Research-Unit for Ribosome Structure in DESY, Hamburg, and collaborated with Max Planck Inst. for Molecular Genetics in Berlin.
Among others she is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS); the Israel Academy of Sciences & Humanities; the German Academy for Sciences (Leopoldina); the European Molecular Biology Organization; the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (Vatican); the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology; the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA); the UK Royal Society for Chemistry; the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome; Italy; and the Royal European Academy of Doctors (RAED).
She holds honorary doctorates from over 20 universities worldwide, in Israel, 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; the Wolf Prize; the Golden DESY Pin; the Indian Prime-Minister medal; the Paul Ehrlich-Ludwig Darmstaedter Medal; the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize; the Erice Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.