William A. Eaton
NIDDK, National Institutes of Health


"In recognition of his contributions to the understanding of protein folding, dynamics, and function. Eaton's innovative experiments provided a detailed characterization of the energy landscape of proteins."


William Eaton is Distinguished Investigator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.  Eaton is a leading expert on the physics of proteins. His lab introduced optical triggering methods to dramatically increase the time resolution in kinetic studies of protein folding, function, and aggregation, and developed statistical mechanical models for these processes.  His current research is focused on single molecule fluorescence studies of protein folding dynamics.  Eaton earned B.A (1959), M.D. (1964), and Ph.D. (1967) degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. His Ph.D. thesis research on the electronic spectroscopy of hemeproteins was supervised by Robin Hochstrasser. In 1968 he moved to the NIH as a Medical Officer in the US Public Health Service.  Since 1986 Eaton has served as Chief of the Laboratory of Chemical Physics, NIDDK, the principal biophysical science laboratory at NIH. His awards include the Founder’s Award of the Biophysical Society, the Neurath Award of the Protein Society, the Humboldt Prize, and the John Scott Medal of the City of Philadelphia. Eaton is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Biophysical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

Selection Committee:

Leon Glass, Chair; D. Nolte; X. Zhuang; A. Garcia; I. Schlitching