Nobel laureate
    Member, National Academy of Sciences, HonFRSC
    Foreign Member, Russian Academy of Sciences
    Distinguished Professor - USC
    Dana and David Dornsife Chair in Chemistry and Biochemistry
    Member, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

    Ph.D. , Weizmann Institute, Israel, 1969
    M.S. , Weizmann Institute, Israel, 1967
    B.S. , Technion, Haifa, Israel, 1966

    Web of Science (as of 12/2019)
    H-index - 116
    Total Citations - 46,528
    Citing Articles - 24,426

  • In 2013, Arieh Warshel, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biology at the University of Southern California’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, was awarded a Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his groundbreaking research in theoretical chemistry. Dr. Warshel holds the Dana and David Dornsife Chair in Chemistry at USC, where he has served on the faculty since 1976.

    A member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Warshel has pioneered computer simulations of the functions of biological molecules. He has authored over 500 peer-reviewed articles, including the book, Computer Modeling of Chemical Reactions in Enzymes and Solutions (Wiley Professional, 1991). He co-developed computer programs for molecular simulations which have been used extensively in different applications including the development of new pharmaceuticals.

    He and his colleagues have pioneered key approaches for simulating the functions of biological molecules, including introducing molecular dynamics in biology; developing the quantum-mechanical/molecular-mechanical (QM/MM) approach; introducing simulations of enzymatic reactions; pioneering microscopic simulations of electron transfer and proton transfer in solutions and in proteins; pioneering microscopic modeling of electrostatic effects in macromolecules; and introducing simulations of protein folding. In addition, Dr. Warshel and his collaborators recently elucidated the structure-based origin of the vectorial action of molecular machines.

    An honorary member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), Dr. Warshel’s numerous awards include the American Chemical Society’s Tolman Medal, the RSC’s Soft Matter and Biophysical Chemistry Award, and the Biophysical Society’s Founders Award.

  • 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry

    The world around us is made up of atoms that are joined together to form molecules. During chemical reactions, atoms change places and new molecules are formed. To accurately predict the course of the reactions at the sites where the reaction occurs, advanced calculations based on quantum mechanics are required. For other parts of the molecules, it is possible to use the less complicated calculations of classical mechanics. In the 1970s, Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel successfully developed methods that combined quantum and classical mechanics to calculate the courses of chemical reactions using computers. Arieh Warshel – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2020. Thu. 12 Mar 2020.

    The Nobel Prize focused on the development of multiscale models for the potential surface; The most important approaches for representing the potential surface of complex systems which do not use quantum mechanics (the co-called force fields) were developed in the Allinger, Lifson and Scheraga groups; different representations for the elementary particles were introduced: atoms, residues, and secondary structures; to study chemical reactions, the classical force fields were extended to treat part of the system by quantum mechanics, the QM/MM method.

  • Arieh Warshel recieves his Nobel medal and diploma from HRH King Carl Gustuv of Sweden. (Photo: Nobel Media.)
  • Research

    Warshel is responsible for many of today's key multiscale simulation approaches in modeling the functions of biological molecules. These advances include: co-developing (with M. Levitt) (JMB 1976) and then advancing the hybrid QM/MM approach, which is now used extensively in modeling enzymatic reactions (that has been recognized by the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry); co-developing (with Levitt and Lifson) the Cartesian Consistent Force Field, which has been the basis of most current modeling programs; Developing the first physically consistent microscopic approach for calculations of electrostatic energies in proteins, including the illustration of the importance of the self-energy term and the role of the protein’s permanent dipoles; co-developing (with M. Levitt) a simplified coarse grained (CG) model for protein folding, which is now widely used; Developing the empirical valence bond (EVB) mode,  which is now used widely, and finally, moving from the early CG model to a more general electrostatic enhanced CG model, which appears to provide a very powerful way of modeling the function of molecular machines. His early studies of proton transfer (PT) and electron transfer (ET) have led to the introduction of very powerful approaches for microscopic simulations of ET (the development of the microscopic equivalent of Marcus parabolas). Similarly, Warshel developed the EVB model (empirical valence bond), as arguably the most effective method of modeling PT (proton transfer) in condensed phases and proteins. Subsequently, he and his team have developed very powerful approaches for simulating long timescale PT processes. The methodological progress outlined above has allowed us to make major contributions in elucidating the nature of the primary event in photosynthesis and to present early simulations of PT in key biological systems. His group contunues to make key contributions in the studies of electrostatic effects in biological systems. This progress places them in a pivotal position to move towards gaining quantitative insight about of the molecular nature of ET, PT and ion transport in biological systems. These accomplishments have been drastically augmented recently by the major progress in using CG models in studies of molecular machines involving in energy conversion, and transport of charges, protons and even proteins. The majority of this research has bridged the gap between chemistry and biology, where perhaps the clearest link is provided by our Group's advances in paving the way for quantitative modeling enzymatic reactions, which are chemical reactions in biological molecules.

  • Contribution to Science

    Dr. Warshel has been involved in paving the way to many of the key multiscale simulation approaches [1] [2] in modeling the functions of biological molecules. These advances include the development of the QM/MM approach [3] for modeling enzymatic reactions. (Recognized in the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry). His progress in this field involved the development of the EVB method and more recently the pardynamics (PD) approach [4] that allow us to generate quantitative ab initio free energy surfaces using the EVB as a reference potential, including new innovations [5]. He developed the first physically consistent microscopic approach for calculations of electrostatic energies in proteins and continued in leading the field of studying the electrostatic basis of biological functions [6]. He also co-developed in 1975 coarse grained (CG) for protein folding. The combination of this model with our electrostatic models led to very powerful CG model [2] that has been refined in recent years, including for protein stability in solutions and in membranes [7]. Warshel discovered what is likely the most important factor in enzyme catalysis; namely the electrostatic preorganization [8] [9]. He and his co-workers have studied all the proposals for the catalytic power of enzymes [10]. In 1976, Warshel performed the first molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of a biological process [10] and continued in advancing free energy perturbations in enzymes and microscopic simulations of electron an proton transfer reactions and subsequently in developing long time simulations including the renormalization model, Langevin dynamics and time-dependent Monte Carlo approaches for multiscale models of enzymes, proton pumps, motors and ion channels [2]. He pioneered and further advanced studies of key biological systems ranging from G-proteins [11] [12], DNA polymerases [11] and other systems [2].

  • Research Activities

    Computer simulation and interpretation of the properties of large molecules, with an emphasis on the function of biological systems:

    1. Calculations of spectroscopic properties of biological molecules
    2. Electrostatic effects in biological systems
    3. Studies of proton transport, ion transport and electron transfer in biology
    4. Modeling molecular motors
    5. Dynamics and mechanisms of photobiological reactions
    6. Simulation of chemical reactions in solutions
    7. Simulation and analysis of protein folding
    8. Theoretical studies of enzymatic reactions and computer aided enzyme design

  • Current Funding

    (NIH) Multiscale Simulations of Biological Systems and Processes - $5,775,562
    R35 GM122472, National Institute of Healh (MIRA grant)
    $5,775,562 - This is the current grant which is a consolidation of R01 GM024492 and R01 GM040283.

    (NSF) Computer Simulations of G-Proteins and Molecular Machines - $1,000,000
    This project aims to elucidate how biological molecules control cellular function at the molecular level using state of the art computational approaches using experimental data to validate the findings. Outcomes of this project will be disseminated via general scientific lectures and outreach activities. In addition, simulation packages will be made available to the scientific community. National Science Foundation (MCB-1243719/renewal) ($1,740,774) Computer simulations of G-proteins and molecular machines (new title)