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Hashim Murtadha Al-Hashimi, Duke University, received the 2020 NAS Award in Molecular Biology.

Throughout his career, Al-Hashimi has focused on illuminating the biochemical reactions that take place at the atomic level. To accomplish this, he has developed and applied sophisticated nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) approaches and concepts of statistical mechanics which have provided new understanding of RNA and DNA. This work has led to new insights into molecular and biological processes and new therapeutic tools for cancer, AIDS, and other diseases.

Al-Hashimi’s accomplishments include the discovery of RNA conformational ensembles, developing approaches to identify the transient presence of alternative Watson-Crick DNA base pairs, and establishing new insights into RNA folding and function. His work, much of which was previously considered next to impossible, has solved problems first posited decades ago and led to new directions in biology and medicine.

The NAS Award in Molecular Biology is supported by Pfizer Inc. and recognizes a recent notable discovery by a young scientist (defined as no older than 45) who is a citizen of the United States. The award is presented with a medal and a $25,000 prize.


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