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Honors and Awards

Julius Lucks Named Finalist for Blavatnik National Awards

Lucks is one of three professors at Northwestern recognized as exceptional young researchers

Three Northwestern University faculty members, including Northwestern Engineering's Julius Lucks, along with Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Professors William Dichtel and Emily Weiss, have been named finalists for the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists. They are among 31 scientists and engineers being recognized nationally this year.

Julius LucksThe finalists are considered to be some of America’s most important young scientific researchers aged 42 years or younger, driving the next generation of innovation by addressing today’s most complex and intriguing scientific questions. They now will compete for the largest unrestricted awards of their kind for early career scientists and engineers.

There are 10 finalists in each of three categories: life sciences, chemistry and physical sciences, and engineering. The 2020 Blavatnik National Laureates, one from each category, will be announced on July 22. Each laureate will receive a cash prize of $250,000.

The annual Blavatnik Awards were established in 2007 by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and are administered by the New York Academy of Sciences.

Lucks, a professor of chemical and biological engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering, is a finalist in life sciences. Lucks has developed a high-throughput technology called SHAPE-seq to rapidly learn about the principles of RNA folding, which is critical in making proteins and regulating genes. With this new understanding, he is making synthetic RNA to use in biological platforms for low-cost, rapid, on-demand testing for chemical contaminants and pathogens in water.

Lucks is a member of Northwestern’s Center for Synthetic Biology and Center for Water Research.