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Edward O'Brien Named Recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers
12 July 2019

Edward O'Brien, Associate Professor of Chemistry, has been named a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). 

The PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the government of the United States to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology. Established in 1996, the PECASE acknowledges the contributions scientists and engineers have made to the advancement of science.

“I'm honored and humbled to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Science,” Dr. O’Brien says, “I thank the president for recognizing the benefit that basic scientific research offers our country.” 

This award recognizes the O’Brien group’s research on understanding non-equilibrium aspects of the structure and function of newly synthesized proteins; the work is funded by the National Science Foundation. “What happens at the birth of protein can have long-term effects on its ability to carry out its function,” Dr. O’Brien explains, “my lab is developing a theoretical framework to understand how the speed of protein synthesis affects the structure and function of the protein produced.” His work has major implications for human disease, the evolution of protein and mRNA sequences, and the efficient synthesis of proteins for biotechnology and biopharmaceutical applications.  

“I am exceptionally pleased to see Ed receive this tremendous award.  It is a reflection of the outstanding nature of his research and its impact on the field,” notes Department of Chemistry Head Philip Bevilacqua.

“This award is a reflection of the talented community of US and international scientists I have been fortunate to work with over the years,” Dr. O’Brien adds, “including scientists from China, Vietnam, India, and a number of European countries.” 

Dr. O’Brien plans to travel to the White House on July 25 to accept the award; the ceremony will be followed by a reception at the National Science Foundation Headquarters. Please join the Department of Chemistry in congratulating Dr. O’Brien on this exciting accomplishment. 

You can learn more about Dr. O’Brien’s research on his website.

Communications Coordinator