Martin Wühr to receive funding from the Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund

Grants, Fellowships and Awards
Posted on May 12, 2020

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, have received funding to explore the roles of protein interactions in health and disease.

The goal of the fund is to enable researchers to make leaps rather than incremental advances in the natural sciences and engineering. The fund focuses on projects that lead either to the invention of a disruptive new technology that can have a major impact on a field of research, or on the development of equipment or an enabling technology that will transform research in a field.

Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, and his wife, Wendy, a businesswoman and philanthropist, created the fund in 2009. Schmidt earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Princeton in 1976 and served as a Princeton trustee from 2004 to 2008.

“These projects have the potential to make revolutionary advances through new tools or technologies that transform how researchers pursue answers to today’s challenges,” said Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science, and a professor of chemical and biological engineering. “The projects selected for funding this year are emblematic of Princeton’s dedication to innovative research that leads eventually to benefits for society.”

The winning proposals were selected by a committee of peers. 

Wühr's project aims to explore and catalog the more than 10,000 proteins that interact to give rise to everyday activities such as cell division as well as specialized functions such as fighting infection. An interdisciplinary team at Princeton consisting of Wühr, assistant professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics; Tom Muir, the Van Zandt Williams Jr. Class of 1965 Professor of Chemistry; and Clifford Brangwynne, professor of chemical and biological engineering, will develop a comprehensive approach to evaluating the roles of protein interactions using high-throughput tests and bioinformatics. Their goal is to unlock our understanding of cellular structures, probe the basic biochemistry of life, and eventually inform the design and testing of new drugs and therapies.