Margaret Gardel wins Sackler Prize in Biophysics

Margaret Gardel, Horace B. Horton Professor of Physics and Molecular Engineering, was awarded the Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in Biophysics to young investigators under the age of 45. Her work investigates how cells sense mechanical forces and respond to those forces with chemical activity.

An international committee selected Gardel as one of the two 2020 awardees of the Sackler Prize. The second awardee is Prof. Robert Best from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“It’s great to be honored by colleagues,” said Gardel, who directs the NSF-funded Material Research Science and Engineering Center. “For me, it reflects the approaches that we’ve been building in my lab over the past 13 years to establish new biophysical tools to understand cell mechanics. I thank the University of Chicago for providing a supportive environment for our lab to be able to do this research.”

“Margaret has made significant contributions to the field of biophysics, and this recognition is well deserved,” said Matthew Tirrell, dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME). “I look forward to seeing how her innovative work continues to help us better understand how cellular organisms move and change shape, and how some of this work may provide insight into designing new synthetic materials.”

Gardel’s other honors include a National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Lucille Packard Fellowship, and an American Asthma Foundation Early Excellence Award. In 2013 she was named a fellow of the American Physical Society.

The Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in Biophysics is administered by Tel Aviv University. It was established through the generosity of Dr. Raymond and Mrs. Beverly Sackler to encourage dedication to science, originality, and excellence. This year an amount of $50,000 will be shared equally between the laureates. The prize is intended to promote originality and excellence of research in the field of biophysics.