The 3 Nobel winners in chemistry in 2004, Irwin 'Ernie' Rose, Abraham Hershko and Aaron Ciehanover. Photo credit: Avi Blizovsky/Wiki Commons
The 3 Nobel winners in chemistry in 2004, Irwin ‘Ernie’ Rose, Abraham Hershko and Aaron Ciehanover. Photo credit: Avi Blizovsky/Wiki Commons
The 3 Nobel winners in chemistry in 2004, Irwin ‘Ernie’ Rose, Abraham Hershko and Aaron Ciehanover. Photo credit: Avi Blizovsky/Wiki Commons

Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Irwin “Ernie” Rose, who conducted research at UC Irvine, died early Tuesday at the age of 88, the university announced.

Rose died in his sleep in Deerfield, Mass., his family reported.

Rose earned the Nobel Prize in 2004 for groundbreaking work on enzymes that break down and dispose of unwanted proteins in plants and animals. His research helped scientists better understand molecular activity in cancer and other diseases.

Rose shared the Nobel with Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hershko of the Israel Institute of Technology.

Rose had a reputation for humility, colleagues said.

The morning after he won the Nobel Prize, according to UCI chemistry professor James Nowick, Rose was “hesitant to pick up the phone because he was tired of all the attention.”

“By the end of the day, he was back in the lab running experiments, never content to bask in the glory of his accomplishments and always eager to continue making new discoveries,” Nowick said.

Rose retired to Laguna Beach in 1997, but continued in his field with a special research position with UCI’s Department of Physiology and Biophysics, where he became a popular mentor to students.

Rose was born in Brooklyn, spent his teenage years in Spokane, Wash., earned a doctoral degree at the University of Chicago in 1952 and spent most of his career as a research scientist at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

— City News Service

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