The Protein Science Young Investigator Award, sponsored by Wiley, recognizes a scientist in the first 8 years of an independent career who has made an important contribution to the study of proteins. The 2022 recipient is Professor Nicolas 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.