Molecular Biophysics


The Protein Society, an international society dedicated to the advancement of protein research, recently announced its 2022 Award winners, several of whom have been funded by MCB’s Molecular Biophysics (MB) cluster. The Protein Society Awards recognize outstanding efforts of researchers who have distinguished themselves with significant achievements in protein research and who have made exceptional contributions in leadership, teaching, and service. Read more about the MCB-funded winners below.

Photo of several 2022 Protein Society Award Winners

Hans Neurath Award Winner – Squire Booker, Ph.D.
The Hans Neurath Award honors those who have made an exceptional contribution to basic protein research. Professor Squire Booker (Penn State University) is recognized for his research which has provided deep insight into the governing molecular logic underpinning biosynthetic pathways, enzyme cofactors, drug action and metabolism, and the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance.

Learn more about Squire Booker’s NSF funded research.

Stein & Moore Award Winner – Daniel Herschlag, Ph.D.
The Stein & Moore Award recognizes eminent leader in protein science who have made sustained, high-impact research contributions to the field. Professor Daniel Herschlag (Stanford University) has identified the principle of “catalytic promiscuity,” a critical missing link in evolution. In addition, his lab developed the RNA chaperone hypothesis, demonstrated the role of RNA binding proteins in coordinating gene expression, and has been on the forefront of developing cutting edge techniques that illuminate new aspects of protein behavior.

Learn more about Daniel Herschlag’s NSF funded research.

Protein Science Young Investigator Award Winners – Nicolas Fawzi, Ph.D. and Nozomi Ando, Ph.D.
The Protein Science Young Investigator Award recognizes a scientist in the first 8 years of an independent career who has made an important contribution to the study of proteins.

  • Professor Nicolas Fawzi (Brown University) is an internationally recognized leader in his field, his efforts were among the first to bring structural to proteins following phase separation. The Fawzi lab has provided insight into the physiology of membrane-less organelles and their pathological dysfunction associated with cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Learn more about Nicolas Fawzi’s NSF funded research.
  • Professor Nozomi Ando (Cornell University) has pioneered new experimental and computational methods to illuminate the molecular mechanisms of protein allostery. Her research on diffuse scattering, faint and smeary signals in the background of x-ray diffraction images from protein crystals is noted with high regard. She is also recognized for her work in advancing structural biology education and advocating for diversity in STEM. Learn more about Nozomi Ando’s NSF funded research.

Join us in congratulating recipients of the 2022 Protein Society Awards. The full list of awards and winners can be found here:

Summer School at NIST and DCL for collaboration with NIST

This is a logo montage that includes the NSF logo and the logo for CHRNS (the Center for High Resolution Neutron Scattering)

The Center for High Resolution Neutron Scattering (CHRNS) is holding a week-long course from July 22-26 at the Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) in Gaithersburg, MD. Registration for the class, titled, “CHRNS Summer School on Methods and Applications of Neutron Spectroscopy,” and other information about the course is available on line

To assist the research community in accessing NIST instrumentation for conducting fundamental research, NSF has created Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) 11-066. Titled “NSF-NIST Interaction in Basic and Applied Scientific Research in BIO, ENG & MPS,” the DCL provides supplemental funding to enable investigators holding active awards from NSF to conduct relevant portions of their work on-site at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). Funding requests may include travel expenses and per diem as well as collaboration by principle investigators (PIs), co-PIs, post-doctoral scholars and both undergraduate and graduate students.

The DCL facilitates collaborative research and educational activities between NSF-funded investigators and science and engineering staff at NIST. In practical terms, this means that NIST provides not only access to its laboratories, but also instrument specialists. “This frees the biologist to focus on the research rather than on learning new technology,” notes Engin Serpersu, program director in the Molecular Biophysics cluster of MCB.

NIST’s half-dozen laboratories and user facilities included in the DCL align with MCB’s goal to support research that incorporates theories and concepts from physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering and computer science. For example, says Serpersu, “The opportunity to conduct research using neutron scattering technology is extremely useful for discerning the structural and dynamic properties of biological systems.”

Read the DCL for more information and contact your program director to discuss your request.