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Protein Society Awards

The Protein Society announces its 2022 award recipients. Read the press release here. 

Nominations for our 2023 Awards are now open, and due October 1. Membership is now NOT required to submit a nomination. Nominees do not have to be a member of the Society. Members can can also submit more than one nomination.

TPS awards recognize excellence across the diverse disciplines that collectively advance our understanding of proteins; their structure, function, design, and application. The Awards honor researchers who have distinguished themselves with significant achievements in protein research and those who have made outstanding contributions in leadership, teaching, and service. TPS members submit nominations, which are awarded by Executive Council, and recipients are honored at the Annual Symposium.

Announcing the Marie Maynard Daly Award of The Protein Society

The Protein Society proudly announces its 8th annual award: The Marie Maynard Daly Award. This award recognizes Dr. Daly, who conducted pioneering studies of protein synthesis, histone biochemistry, and the relationships between hypertension, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis. Dr. Daly was a trailblazer as the first black woman in the United States to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry (Columbia University); she also actively promoted diversification in STEM. The Marie Maynard Daly Award will recognize groundbreaking research at the interface between protein science and human health. 

Nominations for all 8 TPS awards will open in May 2022. 

Carl Brändén Award

In the tradition of Carl Brändén, pioneer in structural biology, co-author of the seminal text Introduction to Protein Structure, and leader of the world-class synchrotron facility at Grenoble, the Carl Brändén Award, sponsored by Rigaku Corporation, honors an outstanding protein scientist who has also made exceptional contributions in the areas of education and/or service.

Specific Requirement: Sustained, high-impact research contributions to the field and additional contributions to education/service.

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The 2022 recipient of this award is Professor David Goodsell (Scripps Research and Rutgers University). Dr. Goodsell combines his training in structural biology and experience in scientific research and software development with active practice of the visual arts. He has pioneered extraordinary visual methods for exploring molecular and cellular structure that are the foundation of his public outreach/education work. His distinctive, non-photorealistic technique creates easily-interpretable illustrations of to-scale molecules and the structure of living cells, both as watercolor paintings and computer-generated images. With the RCSB Protein Data Bank at Rutgers University, he creates educational materials for exploring molecular and cellular structure. This includes the “Molecule of the Month,” a popular column for general audiences that presents the molecular mechanisms of fundamental biology, health and disease, and bioenergy. His passion for and remarkable ability to illustrate and describe molecular landscapes to expert researchers and beginners alike has led to collaborations with science museums, filmmakers, educators, and popular authors on the creation of educational and outreach materials. Dr. Goodsell has also written several general-interest books on molecular biology, cell biology, and bionanotechnology. Throughout his unique and impressive career, Professor Goodsell has promoted and enabled effective teaching and learning of biochemistry and molecular biology and has inspired the public with his vision, his creativity, and his artistic genius.

Previous Award Winners

2021 - Sheila Jaswal; 2020 - Karen Fleming; 2019 - Minoru Kanehisa; 2018 - Jane and Dave Richardson; 2017 - Billy Hudson; 2016 - Gary Pielak; 2015 - C. Robert Matthews; 2014 - Stephen White; 2013 - Sheena Radford; 2012 - Helen Berman; 2011 - Michael Summers; 2010 - Nobuhiro Go; 2009 - Bruce Alberts; 2008 - Howard Schachman; 2007 - Lubert Stryer


Christian B. Anfinsen Award

Established in 1996 and named for Nobel laureate Christian Boehmer Anfinsen, whose research on the structure and function of enzyme proteins contributed to the general acceptance of the “thermodynamic hypothesis,” The Christian B. Anfinsen Award recognizes significant technological achievements and/or methodological advancements in protein research.

Specific Requirement: Technological achievement or significant methodological advances.

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The recipient of this award in 2022 is Professor Jin Zhang (UC San Diego). Professor Zhang pioneered a native biochemistry approach and created innovative photophysical tools to enable the precise interrogation of biochemical networks within living systems. To extract the key spatiotemporal signals that regulate life processes, Professor Zhang developed general strategies and specific fluorescent biosensors to enable study of signaling molecules in their native biological context, from living cells to live animals. These strategies have proven generalizable for the study of many signaling molecules, expanding the impact and significance of her work. More recently, she developed first-in-class technologies for visualizing kinase activities and protein-protein interactions in living cells and at a spatial resolution below the diffraction limit. These innovative molecular tools have allowed her to repeatedly make breakthrough discoveries, including the recent discovery of fundamental mechanisms underlying spatial compartmentation of a ubiquitous second messenger, cAMP. Her pioneering work has been pivotal in establishing a new conceptual framework for how we think about cellular biochemical activities—namely, that they are organized into an activity architecture to spatially encode essential information that profoundly impacts cell physiology and disease.

Previous Award Winners

2021 - Petra Fromme; 2020 - Stephen Sligar; 2019 - Anthony Kossiakoff; 2018 - Yifan Cheng; 2017 - Lewis Kay; 2016 - Andreas Pluckthun; 2015 - Sachdev Sidhu; 2014 - Robert Tycko; 2013 - Tom Alber; 2012 - Barry Honig; 2011 - Wayne Bolen; 2010 - Yoshinori Fujiyoshi; 2009 - Wayne Hubbell; 2008 - Carol Robinson;2007 - Carl Frieden; 2006 - John R. Yates, III; 2005 - Matthias Mann; 2004 - Meir Wilchek; 2003 - Ada Yonath; 2002 - Roger Tsien; 2001 - Martin Karplus; 
2000 - Stephen Benkovic; 1999 - Alan Fersht; 1998 - James Wells; 1997 - Wayne Hendrickson; 1996 - Donald Hunt


Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was a founder of protein crystallography as well as a Nobel laureate. The Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award, supported by a grant from Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, is granted in recognition of exceptional contributions in protein science which profoundly influence our understanding of biology.

Specific Requirement: Profound influence on our understanding of biology.

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The 2022 recipient is Professor Sun Hur (Harvard University). Professor Hur’s structural and biochemical work on a family of vertebrate innate immune receptors, RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs), led to the discovery of receptor polymerization and clustering in response to detection of foreign RNA. Her laboratory elucidated how RLR filament formation enables detection of various types of viral and host RNA signatures, such as secondary structure and modification, and integration of such disparate information for discrimination between foreign and self nucleic acids. By reconstituting the signaling complex with purified components for the first time,  Hur determined long sought-after structures of an activated RLR in complex with its co-factor and s signaling adaptor. These studies revealed how receptor oligomerization activates the downstream signaling pathway. Her group also showed that certain mutations in the receptor and regulators can shift the immunological “threshold” for self-tolerance, leading to constitutive activation of RLRs by self-RNAs in lupus-like inflammatory disorders. Finally, the findings by Professor Hur’s laboratory that RLRs remodel protein-RNA complexes demonstrated an unanticipated signaling-independent, effector-like function of RLRs, challenging the conventional view of immune receptors as simple signaling molecules. In summary, her investigations have provided a molecular framework for understanding the RLR pathway, which sets the paradigm for how other nucleic acid sensors play roles in innate immunity.

Previous Award Winners

2021 - Janet Smith; 2020 - Catherine Drennan; 2019 - Hao Wu; 2018 - Susan Marqusee; 2017 - Juli Feigon and Manajit Hayer-Hartl; 2016 - Rachel Klevit; 2015 - Eva Nogales; 2014 - Judith Frydman; 2013 - Christopher Hill and Cynthia Wolberger; 2012 - Mark Lemmon; 2011 - Brenda Schulman and Wei Yang; 2010 - Lila Gierasch; 2009 - Janet Thornton;
2008 - Douglas Rees; 2007 - Leemor Joshua-Tor


Emil Thomas Kaiser Award

In 2002, The Protein Society established The Emil Thomas Kaiser Award. Dr. Kaiser’s highly original research, including the profoundly significant discovery of the necessity amphiphilic helices to biological life, can be said to have introduced a new field of chemistry. In this tradition, The Emil Thomas Kaiser Award recognizes a recent, highly significant contribution in applying chemistry to the study of proteins. 

To make a donation in support of the Kaiser Award Endowment, please visit this webpage.

Specific Requirement: Application of chemistry to the study of proteins.

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The 2022 recipient is Professor Philipp Kukura (Oxford University). Dr. Kukura is a physical chemist who has devoted his career to developing spectroscopic techniques to study biomolecules. Consistently pushing the boundaries of what can be detected with light, he has developed techniques sensitive to ever-smaller signals –in the form of magnetic field effects, ultrafast changes in vibrational signatures, and light scattered by nano-objects such as proteins.

Most importantly, he developed mass photometry, a technology that measures the mass of single biomolecules using light scattering, breaking new ground in the study of proteins. Dr. Kukura pursued the research that led to mass photometry despite that fact that his goal — to detect single proteins by light scattering alone — was deemed by some to be ‘impossible.’ His perseverance resulted in the first single-molecule optical technique that is both universal (requiring no labelling) and specific (providing direct information on protein identity and structure). Dr. Kukura has founded a company to commercialize this technology. Both the company and uptake of mass photometry have grown rapidly; they are a testament to the technology’s value and impact for protein research, and to his commitment to ensuring it is widely accessible.

Previous Award Winners

2021 - Lei Wang; 2020 - Shuguang Zhang; 2019 - Shahriar Mobashery; 2018 - Michael Rosen; 2017- Thomas Muir; 2016 - Charles Craik; 2015 - Anna Mapp; 2014 - Carol Fierke; 2013 - Wilfred van der Donk; 2012 - No Award Given This Year;
2011 - Jeffery Kelly; 2010 - Suzanne Walker; 2009 - Donald Hilvert; 2008 - JoAnne Stubbe; 2007 - Michael Marletta;
2006 - Barbara Imperiali 

Previous recipients, sponsored by SynPep Corporation, include:

2005 - Ronald Raines; 2004 - Homme Hellinga; 2003 - Michael Hecht; 2002 - Steve Kent


Hans Neurath Award

Hans Neurath played an integral role in the early life of the Society, as a founding member and later -at age 81- as founding editor of Protein Science. His contributions to the early success of the Society were surpassed only by his larger contributions to the field of biochemistry and our early understanding of proteins.

Reflective of his prolific contributions to the understanding of the physical chemistry of proteins, The Hans Neurath Award, sponsored by the Hans Neurath Foundation, seeks to honor individuals who have made a recent contribution of exceptional merit to basic protein research.

Specific Requirement: A recent contribution of unusual merit to basic protein science.

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The 2022 recipient is Professor Squire Booker (Penn State University). Dr. Booker’s research is concerned with novel mechanisms and pathways for the biosynthesis of various natural products and cellular metabolites, with a particular focus on enzymes that use S-adenosylmethionine and iron-sulfur clusters to catalyze reactions via radical mechanisms. Having had the prescience as a postdoctoral scholar to investigate the founding member of the iron-sulfur/radical-S-adenosyl-L-methionine (radical-SAM) enzyme family, which is approaching a million assigned members and has unquestionably become the foremost frontier area in enzyme research, Dr. Booker then taught the community how to produce and handle with these fragile enzymes in his early work. During this past decade, his investigations into reactions that append sulfur, methyl(ene), and methylated sulfur moieties to unactivated aliphatic, olefinic, and aromatic carbons have provided deep insight into the governing molecular logic underpinning biosynthetic pathways, enzyme cofactors, drug action and metabolism, and the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. Most recently, the Booker lab overcame a longstanding barrier to the study of radical-SAM enzymes with cobalamin cofactors, allowing dissection of the biosynthetic pathways leading to fosfomycin and carbapenems, clinically important antibiotics. This work elucidated fundamentally novel chemistry, including reactions that grow fully-saturated alkyl chains one carbon at a time.

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Previous Award Winners

2021 - Toshiya Endo and Amy Rosenzweig; 2020 - Martin Gruebele; 2019 - Dave Thirumalai; 2018 - David Baker; 2017 - Kazuhiro Nagata; 2016 - H. Eric Xu; 2015 - Marina Rodnina; 2014 - James Hurley; 2013 - Jennifer Doudna and Chuck Sanders; 2012 - Charles Brooks; 2011 - Johannes Buchner; 2010 - Wendell Lim; 2009 - William Eaton; 2008 - Robert Stroud; 2007 - Robert Sauer; 2006 - Christopher Dobson; 2005 - Roderick MacKinnon; 2004 - Carlos Bustamante; 2003 - James Wells;  2002 - Ad Bax; 2001 - Arthur Horwich; 2000 - Janet Thornton; 1999 - Peter Kim; 1998 - Ken Dill


Stein & Moore Award

The Stein and Moore Award, named for Nobel laureates Dr. William Stein and Dr. Stanford Moore, venerates their contribution to understanding the connection between chemical structure and catalytic activity of the active center of the ribonuclease molecule. Established in 1986, the Stein and Moore Award is given to recognize eminent leaders in protein science who have made sustained high impact research contributions to the field.

Specific Requirement: Sustained, high-impact research contributions to the field.

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The 2022 recipient is Professor Daniel Herschlag (Stanford University). Dr. Herschlag’s distinctive style of scientific inquiry, applying fundamental chemical, biophysical and enzymological principles to long-standing and emerging questions in protein science and biology, has borne fruit in numerous ways. In protein enzymology, Dr. Herschlag identified the principle of “catalytic promiscuity,” a critical missing link in evolution and a foundation for the fertile area of directed evolution. His group has provided deep and extensive dissections of hydrogen bonds and their contributions to enzyme catalysis. In the field of protein-RNA interactions, the Herschlag lab developed the RNA chaperone hypothesis, presaging the discovery of cellular RNA chaperones and appreciation of their widespread importance. He demonstrated the ubiquitous role of RNA binding proteins in coordinating gene expression. Most recently, he has elevated our previously qualitative and descriptive understanding of protein-RNA recognition to a higher—quantitative and predictive—plane. Through his desire to answer deep fundamental questions, Professor  Herschlag has been on the frontier of developing and applying cutting edge techniques and concepts that illuminate new aspects of protein behavior and their biological consequences.

Previous Award Winners

2021 - David Agard; 2020 - Jim Bowie; 2019 - Dame Carol Robinson; 2018 - Raymond Stevens; 2017 - John Kuriyan;
2016 - Jane Clarke; 2015 - William DeGrado; 2014 - Nikolaus Pfanner; 2013 - Robert T. Sauer; 2012 - No Award Given This Year; 2011 - Gerhard Wagner; 2010 - Peter Wright; 2009 - Peter Walter; 2008 - Susan Lindquist; 2007 - Paul Schimmel;
2006 - Arthur Horwich & F. Ulrich Hartl; 2005 - Avram Hershko & Alexander Varshavsky; 2004 - Wolfgang Baumeister
2003 - Chris Dobson; 2002 - Paul Sigler; 2001 - Alan Fersht; 2000 - Brian Matthews; 1999 - Mo Cleland;
1998 - David Davies; 1997 - Mildred Cohn; 1996 - David Eisenberg; 1995 - Harold Scheraga; 1994 - Michael Rossman;
1993 - Walter Kauzmann; 1992 - Robert Baldwin; 1991 - Russell Doolittle; 1990 - Kurt Wuthrich; 1989 - Hans Neurath;
1988 - Fred Richards; 1987 - Emil Smith


Protein Science Young Investigator Award

The Protein Science Young Investigator Award, sponsored by Wiley, formerly known as The Irving Sigal 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.*

*With allowances for familial leave or other exigent circumstance.

Specific Requirement: Within 8 years of starting an independent career.

N Lux Fawzi.jpg The 2022 recipient is Professor Nicolas Lux Fawzi (Brown University). Professor Fawzi is an internationally recognized leader in a field that his technological advances have helped to found. Dr. Fawzi uses solution NMR spectroscopy to investigate the structural biology of biomolecular condensates and the biophysical chemistry of the disordered regions of RNA‐binding proteins. Dr. Fawzi’s efforts were among the first to bring structural clarity to proteins following phase separation. His research described, for the first time, how three of the most important proteins in ALS remain structurally disordered in normal function and how mutations change transient structure and lead to protein aggregation in the disease. Work from the Fawzi lab has provided molecular insight into the physiology of membrane-less organelles and their pathological dysfunction associated with cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, subjects of studies that were previously hampered by an inability to characterize these poorly understood proteins at atomic resolution. His current efforts to visualize protein structures and contacts within condensates with higher resolution and with more complex compositions (including in cells) seeks to establish an exciting new frontier.

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The 2022 recipient is Professor Nozomi Ando (Cornell University) has pioneered new experimental and computational methods to illuminate the molecular mechanisms of protein allostery. Of remarkable note is her work on diffuse scattering, faint and smeary signals in the background of x-ray diffraction images from protein crystals. For many decades, these signals were ignored by the structural biology field although they were known to contain information on how atoms in a molecule move relative to each other. Although diffuse scattering from simple molecules could be interpreted, it was thought that diffuse scattering from protein crystals is intractable. Dr. Ando’s group was the first to develop methods that enable rigorous validation of data statistics and data-model agreement. In doing so, they were able to provide, for the first time, compelling evidence that two types of correlated motions exist in protein crystals: those involving atoms in different unit cells, and those involving atoms within a protein molecule. These correlated protein motions play central roles in allostery, and this breakthrough result has the potential to animate high-resolution structures from x-ray crystallography. Professor Ando is recognized for her work in advancing structural biology education and advocating for diversity in STEM.

Previous Award Winners

2021 - Bruno Correia; 2020 - Mohammad Seyedsayamdost; 2019 - Gabriel Lander; 2018 - Brandon Ruotolo; 2017 - David Pagliarini; 2016 - Benjamin Garcia; 2015 - Nieng Yan; 2014 - M. Madan Babu; 2012 - Mei Hong and Tarun M. Kapoor;
2011 - Shu-ou Shan; 2013 - Feng Shao; 2010 - Charalampos Kalodimos; 2009 - Virginia Cornish; 2008 - Jamie H. Doudna Cate; 2007 - Benjamin Cravatt, III; 2006 - Vijay Pande; 2005 - Thomas Muir; 2004 - Erin O'Shea and Jonathan Weissman; 2003 - Yigong Shi; 2002 - Carolyn Bertozzi; 2001 - Kevan Shokat; 2000 - David Baker; 1999 - Jeffery Kelly; 1998 - Nikola Pavletich; 1997 - John Kuriyan; 1996 - Michael Summers; 1995 - Stuart Schreiber; 1994 - Peter Kim; 1993 - Ad Bax and Marius Clore; 1992 - Peter Schultz; 1991 - Carl Pabo; 1990 - Rachel Klevit; 1989 - William DeGrado