After a  two-month voting competition, the 2020 MolecularCloud Distinguished Research Award was given to the teams of Bert Schepens and Xavier Saelens at the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology, alongside the team of their collaborator Jason McLellan at the University of Texas at Austin. 

MolecularCloud Distinguished Research Awards aim to recognize and honor those research achievements which have made significant impact on the studies of COVID-19 and the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes it. The Cell publication of Xavier Saelens, Bert Schepens, Jason McLellan and colleagues received the most votes in the category “Vaccines and Therapeutics Studies”. The data presented in the article provide a molecular basis for the neutralization of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by single-domain antibodies (VHHs), suggesting these molecules may serve as useful therapeutics during coronavirus outbreaks. This work was done in collaboration with the Nico Callewaert lab.

The award-winning team receives the Distinguished Research Award Certificate and a prize worth $3,000 for their contribution to COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 research. The other 2020 Distinguished Research Awards of MolecularCloud went to the lab of Zheng-Li Shi at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the David Veesler lab at the University of Washington. 

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Staff Scientist
VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology