Jeffrey Skolnick, Ph.D., Mary and Maisie Gibson Chair and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Computational Systems Biology at Georgia Tech, will receive the Southeastern Universities Research Association’s (SURA) 2014 Distinguished Scientist Award. The award is given annually to a scientist whose extraordinary work fulfills the society’s mission of “fostering excellence in scientific research.”
Skolnick, who also serves as Director of the Integrative BioSystems Institute, will be presented the award and its $10,000 honorarium on March 18, 2014 at the SURA Board of Trustees meeting at the University of West Virginia at the SURA’s spring board of trustee’s meeting.
“Jeff is extremely deserving of this award as he is one of the outstanding thought leaders in the field and has been called ‘visionary’ and ‘an out of the box thinker’ by many colleagues,” stated Mark Hay, Ph.D., professor and Harry and Linda Teasley Chair in Environmental Biology in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech. “Not only has his research provided unique and fundamental insights into the behavior of biological systems, he has developed several of the best algorithms for virtual ligand screening and for predicting protein structure-function relationships.”
Skolnick is the author or co-author of over 350 journal articles in the fields of systems and computational biology and his cutting edge research on protein structure and function has provided remarkable insights into the relative roles of physics and evolution in dictating the properties of protein structure and function and holds the potential to dramatically accelerate and enhance the drug discovery process.
“Jeff is a world-class scientist with tremendous imagination and creativity,” stated Terry Snell, Chair of the School of Biology at Georgia Tech. “His research has significantly enhanced our understanding of protein structure and function.”
Over his career, Skolnick has made significant scientific contributions. He developed the first coarse grained model for protein structure prediction, the first successful multiscale modeling approach to structure prediction, the first effective medium model for a membrane that enabled the successful prediction of peptide orientation and conformation with respect to the membrane, Fuzzy Functional Forms that were the first low resolution approach to protein function prediction, and the highly accurate EFICAz approach to enzyme function inference. His more recent work has significant applications to both drug discovery and to improving our fundamental understanding of the possible origin of life.
The SURA Distinguished Scientist Award was established in 2007 to commemorate the organization’s 25th Anniversary and is considered its highest honor. SURA’s Development & Relations Committee manages the solicitation, screening and selection of the recipient for this award from a SURA member institution.