Eva Nogales Wins Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine

May 31, 2023
By: LBL Media Relations
headshot of Eva Nogales
Eva Nogales

Biophysicist honored for pioneering electron microscopy research that elucidated the earliest steps of gene transcription.

Eva Nogales, a senior faculty scientist in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab) Biosciences Area, has won the 2023 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine for pioneering structural biology that enabled visualization, at the level of individual atoms, of the protein machines responsible for gene transcription, one of life’s fundamental processes.

Nogales, who is also a UC Berkeley distinguished professor of biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology, shares the prize with Patrick Cramer, director of the Department of Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Germany.

The Shaw Prize acknowledgement states that Nogales and Cramer revealed the mechanism underlying each step in gene transcription, how proper gene transcription promotes health, and how dysregulation causes disease. More information on their landmark research is available in the Shaw Prize May 30 press release, which adds that Nogales pioneered cryo-electron microscopy to transform our understanding of the earliest steps in gene transcription.

The Shaw Prize is dedicated to furthering societal progress, enhancing quality of life, and enriching humanity’s spiritual civilization. It was established under the auspices of entertainment producer and philanthropist Run Run Shaw in November 2002 and is managed and administered by The Shaw Prize Foundation based in Hong Kong. The prize is granted annually in the fields of astronomy, medicine and life sciences, and mathematical sciences.

Nogales is a renowned expert in cryo-electron microscopy technology and image analysis. Her research focuses on regulatory mechanisms underlying gene expression and cytoskeleton self-assembly during cell division, and she has collaborated with scientific teams from around the world. She has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator since 2000. More about Nogales’ expertise is available on her Biosciences Area profile page.

Nogales has won numerous research awards. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Society for Cell Biology, and the Biophysical Society. She also received the Berkeley Lab Director’s Award for Exceptional Science Achievement.

In 2006, Berkeley Lab Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter won the Shaw Prize in astronomy for his role in the discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.