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Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

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Hecht named winner of Protein Society award

The Protein Society, an international scientific organization, has awarded its annual Emil Thomas Kaiser Award to Princeton chemist Michael Hecht . "Professor Hecht has made significant, original and creative contributions to our understanding of protein structure and design," the society said in its citation.

Hecht, an associate professor of chemistry, came to Princeton as an assistant professor in 1990. He received his Ph.D. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984 and worked in postdoctoral positions there and at the Duke University Medical Center.

The Protein Society cited Hecht for his work in designing "de novo proteins," custom-made proteins that do not arise from natural processes. His studies, which show that water-attracting and water-repelling portions of a protein are crucial in determining the molecule's three-dimensional structure, are "a real tour de force," the society said. The work could have applications in fields from medicine to materials science.

The Protein Society has given the Kaiser award annually since 1995 "in recognition of a recent, highly significant, contribution to the science of proteins." As part of the award, Hecht will deliver a lecture at the 17th Annual Symposium of The Protein Society in Boston in July.

Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601

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