Harry C & Olga K Wiess Professor of Physics, Rice University |
José Onuchic is the Harry C & Olga K Wiess Chair of Physics and Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Biosciences at Rice University. He is also the co-Director of the NSF-sponsored Center for Theoretical Biological Physics and a CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research (Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas). Dr. Onuchic’s research looks at theoretical and computational methods for molecular biophysics, chemical reactions in condensed matter, and gene networks. He introduced the concept of protein-folding funnels to show the types of amino acid sequences that can fold into a unique protein structure. Dr. Onuchic and his collaborators also created the concept of tunneling pathways and the methodology for reducing proteins into a combination of relevant tubes of pathways that provides a new way of designing electron transfer proteins. He also focuses on stochastic effects in genetic networks in particular for bacteria and cancer. In 1989 he was awarded the International Centre for Theoretical Physics Prize in honor of Werner Heisenberg in Trieste, Italy, and in 1992 he received the Beckman Young Investigator Award. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society. In 2006 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA and in 2009 fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. . In 2011 he was awarded the Einstein Professorship by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and in 2012 he has been elected Fellow of the Biophysical Society. In 2014 he received the Diaspora Prize from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Industrial Development and Foreign Trade from Brazil.