MCB Congratulates Three 2019 PECASE Recipients

Three MCB-funded researchers are among 314 recipients of the 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The selections were recently announced by President Trump. The three are among 80 nominated by NSF. A total of nine recipients are from NSF’s Directorate of Biology.

The PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology. The award was established in 1996 and is coordinated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Congratulations to:

Dr. Lynette Cegelski, Stanford University (Award #1453247), “for her outstanding research in the field of solid-state NMR spectroscopy to develop novel strategies to examine bacterial amyloid fibers, and for providing unparalleled detail into the structure and function of native curli amyloid fibers and their interactions with amyloid dyes and their cognate biofilm polysaccharide partners at the atomic and molecular levels;”

Dr. Megan Thielges, Indiana University, Bloomington (Award #1552996), “for her leadership in the development and application of high-resolution infrared spectroscopy to protein dynamics and function, and for her commitment to reduce barriers for female participation in science;” and

Dr. Edward O’Brien, Pennsylvania State University (Award #1553291), “for his outstanding research in the field of computational molecular biophysics, for increasing the understanding of the influence of protein synthesis on nascent protein behavior, and for developing a creative outreach program to introduce high school students to cutting edge research opportunities.”


Dr. Ahmad Khalil is smiling, arms crossed, standing in front of his lab bench while wearing a blue and white checked shirt and glasses.

MCB would like to congratulate Dr. Ahmad (Mo) Khalil, recipient of the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE award is the most prestigious honor a scientist or engineer can receive from the U.S. government early in their independent research career.

PECASE selection is a highly competitive process. As we previously noted on the MCB Blog, awardees must first receive a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. Dr. Khalil received his CAREER award from the Systems and Synthetic Biology Cluster in the Division of MCB. The National Science Foundation annually nominates up to twenty CAREER awardees for the PECASE award, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy makes the final selection of PECASE awardees.

Dr. Khalil was selected to receive a PECASE award because his work is an outstanding example of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and because of his strong commitment to service, scientific leadership, education, and outreach. His research uses synthetic biology to engineer cellular networks; the specific focus of his CAREER award is to develop synthetic tools to study the function of prions in yeast cells and populations. You can read more about his research at Boston University on his lab’s website or in a post we featured via the Share MCB Science blog theme.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Khalil!

This work is partially funded by the Systems and Synthetic Biology Cluster of the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, CAREER Award #MCB-1350949.