May 26, 2020
The 2020 recipients of the Arthur L. Kelly Faculty Prize for Exceptional Service in the Physical Sciences Division are Bryan Dickinson, Margaret Gardel, and Chuan He, in recognition of their contributions to COVID-19 research and relief efforts at the University of Chicago.
The prize was established in the Division in 2013 by Arthur L. Kelly, who received his MBA from the University in 1964 and established the same faculty prize at Chicago Booth in 1999. In addition to his contributions to finance, business, international relations, and geography, Mr. Kelly served as Trustee of the University from 1988-2008 and has served two decades on the PSD Council, including ten years as Chair. It is fitting that we honor his contributions to the Division and the University through this award.
The Kelly Prize celebrates faculty who, outside of their teaching and research, have made exceptional efforts in promoting and supporting the Division. Previous winners include Ka Yee Lee and John Frederick (2013); Anne Rogers and Michael Hopkins (2014); Robert Fefferman and Robert Wald (2015); Michael Foote (2016); Michael Stein (2017); Richard Jordan (2018); and Stephen Stigler (2019).
Bryan Dickinson, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, receives this prize in recognition of his remarkable dedication to scientific collaboration and research during the COVID-19 crisis. Bryan, whose research focuses on creating technologies to measure and control biological systems, is collaborating with over 30 colleagues at UChicago and Argonne National Laboratory to develop a steady stream of small molecule drug candidates that directly target SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. This team of organic chemists, chemical biologists, computational biologists, and structural biologists, is leveraging the unique strengths of the University to develop innovative treatments for COVID-19 and related diseases. Bryan also rallied volunteers to help hospital efforts, donated PPE, and co-founded the Technical COVID-19 Response Team with Margaret Gardel, Allison Squires, and Marsha Rosner. Bryan's many honors include the Camille-Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, an NSF CAREER award, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and the Cancer Research Foundation Young Investigator Award.
Margaret Gardel, the Horace B. Horton Professor of Physics and Molecular Engineering, the James Franck Institute, and the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, and Director of the Material Research Science and Engineering Center, receives this prize in recognition of her exceptional leadership during the COVID-19 crisis. Margaret spearheaded efforts to collect PPE from research labs across the University to donate to UChicago Medicine. She also collaborated with colleagues to evaluate promising N-95 respirator decontamination methods and to launch a consortium, N95DECON, dedicated to disseminating scientific information about N95 decontamination and reuse. Additionally, alongside researchers from PSD, PME, and BSD, Margaret started the University of Chicago Technical COVID-19 Response Team to engineer solutions to improve COVID-19 outcomes. Margaret's many honors include the Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in Biophysics, a National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Lucille Packard Fellowship, and an American Asthma Foundation Early Excellence Award. Margaret's work investigates the physical underpinnings of the movement and shape of living cells.
Chuan He, John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, receives this prize in recognition of his tireless devotion to researching COVID-19 and decoding its RNA, and his generous donations of PPE to the hospital and to our emeritus faculty. Understanding how the virus functions is key to slowing or stopping the virus's path around the world and could boost effectiveness of future COVID-19 vaccines. Chuan is an expert in the field of RNA modification biology and epigenetics. Nearly a decade ago, Chuan opened a new field of biology when he championed the idea that RNA can be modified and unmodified in ways that crucially affect cell function. Chuan is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Chuan's many honors include a Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and an American Chemical Society Chemical Biology Lectureship.
The Kelly Prize will be awarded at the virtual PSD Convocation ceremony on Saturday, June 13