Princeton's Michael Skinnider wins 'Young Explorer Award' grand prize

June 20, 2024

Michael Skinnider, an assistant professor in the Princeton Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton, received the 2023 NOMIS & Science Young Explorer Award grand prize at a ceremony at the University of Zurich on June 4.

The award, from the NOMIS Foundation and the journal Science, "recognizes bold early-career researchers who ask fundamental questions at the intersection of the social and life sciences."

Skinnider was honored for "developing an artificial intelligence–based approach to identify new designer drugs wreaking havoc in an ever-greater number of global communities," the foundation said.

Skinnider’s research cited in the award explores how AI generative language models used on chemical structures can accelerate identification of emerging drugs from mass spectrometry data. The data can then be used in public health responses to drug outbreaks.

At the ceremony in Switzerland, Isabella Bower, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of South Australia, and George Goshua, an assistant professor of medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine, also received Young Explorer awards.

Earlier this year, Chemical and Engineering News named Skinnider as one of its annual “Talented 12” early career scientists using chemistry in research that will have a global impact.