Clifford Brangwynne, professor of chemical and biological engineering; Martin Wühr, assistant professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics; and Tom Muir, the Van Zandt Williams Jr. Class of 1965 Professor of Chemistry, are photographed after receiving funding to explore the roles of protein interactions in health and disease.
Princeton University, Office of Communications, Denise Applewhite (2020)

Clifford Brangwynne, a professor of chemical and biological engineering, was one of three recipients of the BLAVATNIK NATIONAL AWARDS FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS. Brangwynne, this year’s life-sciences laureate, was recognized for his work in cell biology, which includes research on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. He is the first Princeton professor to receive the $250,000 prize, which has been awarded annually since 2014. 

Photographer Deana Lawson, a professor of visual arts, was awarded the HUGO BOSS PRIZE, given biennially by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Lawson is the first photographer to receive the $100,000 award, which was first presented in 1996. In addition to the monetary prize, Lawson will present her work in a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York next spring.

Chemical and biological engineering professor Robert Prud’homme received the inaugural DEAN FOR RESEARCH AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED INNOVATION for his work on flash nanoprecipitation, a process that creates nanoparticles less than one-thousandth the width of a human hair that could improve the delivery of drugs throughout the body. The award was presented at Engage 2020, Princeton’s innovation and entrepreneurship conference, which was held virtually Nov. 4–6.

FORWARD THINKING TOGETHER After the campus emptied because of COVID-19 last spring, the University’s Office of Advancement launched #TigersHelping to spotlight the service of alumni, faculty, staff, and students working throughout the crisis. As the pandemic persisted and a nationwide reckoning with racial justice took place against a backdrop of a presidential election, the focus broadened. Thus was born A Year of Forward Thinking, an initiative described on its website as an opportunity to “look at complexity as inspiration ... as we advance ideas and push the boundaries of knowledge.”

As part of this community-engagement campaign, the University has introduced Forward Fest, offering virtual panel discussions on pressing national issues. The campaign kicked off Oct. 23, and the programming debuted Oct. 24 with three panels streamed over social media, featuring Princeton professors and alumni weighing in on the election, the pandemic, and racial-justice issues. The moderator for the public-health panel, infectious-disease specialist Dr. Célene Gounder ’97, was just weeks later named to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition COVID-19 advisory board.

The panels can be streamed at Resource guides and other information about past and future events are at According to Advancement strategic content producer Leslie Jennings Rowley, more than 1,000 people RSVP’d to watch live, and the videos had been streamed tens of thousands of times in the two weeks afterward. A Nov. 20 offering was planned with experts in the field of data science and artificial technology.