Aaron Ciechanover is born in Haifa, a year before the establishment of the State of Israel. His family has emigrated from Poland before the Second World War. During his early years he receives from his family a strong encouragement to study. He inherits his father’s love for Jewish studies and cultural life. An important part of the education at home involves Judaism and Zionism.
Ciechanover delays his national compulsory service to receive a university education. He enters the Hebrew University and "Hadassah" in Jerusalem. He studies basic and clinical sciences. At the end of the 4th year, he doesn’t know if he truly wants to become a practicing physician. In 1969-70, under the guidance of Jacob Bar-Tana and Benjamin Shapira, Ciechanover explores mechanisms of CCl4-induced fatty liver in a rat model. He finds a new love: biochemistry.
Aaron Ciechanover, during vacations from the military service, and along with other members of the department, teaches continuously the course in Clinical Biochemistry to 3rd year medical students.
Aaron Ciechanover spends several summers (1978-1981) at Irwin Rose's laboratory at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, with Avram and Rose. The decisive breakthrough in their discovery is reported in two works that Ciechanover, Hershko and Irwin Rose publish in 1980. They discover that covalent attachment of ubiquitin to a target protein signals it for degradation.
Aaron Ciechanover makes a two-month driving trip across the USA.
Aaron Ciechanover obtains an independent academic position in the Department of Biochemistry at the Faculty of Medicine of the Technion. He establishes his own independent research group and laboratory, obtains international competitive funding and continues his research on the ubiquitin system. Since 1984, he has there different positions: Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, Full Professor and Distinguished Research Professor.
Aaron Ciechanover marries Menucha, a physician and a graduate of Tel Aviv University School of Medicine. Menucha is a resident in internal medicine in Tel Aviv Municipal Hospital. In Tel Aviv the couple builds his first house. Marrying Menucha gives to Ciechanover the sensation to be again part of a family.
Aaron Ciechanover attends "Hugim" high school in Haifa. The last two years of his secondary school education (1963-1965) are particularly relevant for his future - wonderful and inspiring teachers increase his passion for biology. Ciechanover loses his father in 1964, after having lost also his mother in 1958. His aunt Miriam - his mother's sister - takes care of him and allows him to complete his high school without interruption.
For his rotating internship, Aaron Ciechanover is accepted as an M.D. research student by Dr. Avram Hershko, a young talented biochemist recruited as Chairman for the Unit of Biochemistry in the Faculty of Medicine at the Technion in Haifa. For his thesis, Ciechanover decides, together with Dr. Avram, to analyse the effect of serum on synthesis of phospholipids, assuming that following serum addition, cell membranes undergo major changes that will be reflected in phospholipid metabolism.
Aaron Ciechanover completes his clinical years and graduates from Medical School. To obtain his medical license, he has to complete also a year of rotating internship.
Aaron Ciechanover is awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Avram Hershko and Irwin Rose "for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation." Ciechanover says he is not only surprised to win the Nobel Prize, but doubly surprised that it is in the Chemistry category, instead of Medicine.
Aaron Ciechanover starts his graduate studies with Avram Hershko at the Technion's Faculty of Medicine. At this time, Avram's group focuses mostly on studying intracellular proteolysis. During this period, Ciechanover conducts most of the research that will lead later on to his Nobel Prize.
Aaron Ciechanover conducts his postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Harvey Lodish at the Whitehead Institute at MIT, according to him, a period of three wonderful years. Ciechanover here takes advantage of the exceptional strength of the laboratory and the very precious Harvey's unique expertise in cell biology.
Ciechanover serves in the army, initially in the navy, as a physician in missile boats fleet. He travels from Haifa to Eilat, sailing via the Mediterranean Sea, the Gibraltar strait and around the West and East coasts of Africa. The rest of the 3 years service is spent in the Research and Development (R & D) unit of the Medical Corps, developing a broad array of sophisticated devices for the soldier in the battlefield. These years are, according to him, his best school for real life "sciences".