Miklós Bodanszky Award 2024

The Miklos Bodanszky Award is presented every two years, during the European Peptide Symposium, in commemoration of Miklos Bodanszky’s contributions to peptide research, to a young scientist who has in the opinion of the General Assembly of the Society made the most outstanding contribution to peptide research in the period of maximum ten years after obtaining the PhD degree. The Award is presented during the EPS Symposium and is sponsored by BCN Peptides.

The 2024 awardee is Professor César de la Fuente. Congratulations!

César de la Fuente is a Presidential Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he leads the Machine Biology Group. Previously, he pursued postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and earned a PhD at the University of British Columbia (UBC). His research goal is to use the power of machines to accelerate discoveries in biology and medicine. Specifically, he pioneered the development of the first computer-designed antibiotic with efficacy in animal models, demonstrating the application of AI for antibiotic discovery and helping launch this emerging field. His lab has also been in the vanguard of developing computational methods for mining the world’s biological information, leading to the breakthrough discovery of a whole new world of antimicrobials. These efforts explored the human proteome as a source of antibiotics for the first time. De la Fuente’s group was also the first to find therapeutic molecules in extinct organisms, launching the field of molecular de-extinction. Molecular de-extinction has already yielded preclinical antibiotic candidates. Altogether, de la Fuente’s work has dramatically accelerated the time needed to discover preclinical candidates, from years to hours. Additional advances from his lab include designing algorithms for antibiotic discovery, reprogramming venoms into antimicrobials, developing autonomous nanorobots to treat infections, creating novel resistance-proof antimicrobial materials, and inventing rapid, lowcost diagnostic devices for COVID-19 and other infections. Prof. de la Fuente is an NIH MIRA investigator and has received recognition and research funding from numerous other groups. De la Fuente has received over 70 national and international awards. He is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), becoming one of the youngest ever to be inducted. He was recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of the world’s top innovators for “digitizing evolution to make better antibiotics.” He was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Langer Prize and as an ACS Kavli Emerging Leader in Chemistry, an ASM Distinguished Lecturer, Waksman Foundation Lecturer, and received the Miklós Bondanszky Award, AIChE’s 35 Under 35 Award, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Young Investigator Award, and the ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award. He also received the Thermo Fisher Award, as well as the EMBS Academic Early Career Achievement Award “For the pioneering development of novel antibiotics designed using principles from computation, engineering, and biology.” Most recently, Prof. de la Fuente was awarded the prestigious Princess of Girona Prize, the ASM Award for Early Career Applied and Biotechnological Research, the Rao Makineni Lectureship Award by the American Peptide Society, and was selected as a National Academy of Medicine Emerging Leader in Health and Medicine. De la Fuente serves on the editorial boards of numerous scholarly journals and is currently an Associate Editor of Drug Resistance Updates (IF= 24.3; the premier international drug resistance journal), Nature Communications Biology, Bioactive Materials (IF = 18.9), Bioengineering & Translational Medicine, and Digital Discovery. He has been named a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate several times. Prof. de la Fuente has given over 250 invited lectures, including numerous Keynote and Named Lectures, and has spoken at TEDx. He has co-authored an influential book on machine learning for drug discovery and his scientific discoveries have yielded multiple patents and over 150 publications, including papers in Science, Cell, Cell Host Microbe, Nature Biomedical Engineering, Nature Communications, PNAS, ACS Nano, Nature Chemical Biology, and Advanced Materials.