Faculty Profile: Nicolas Fawzi, Ph.D.

Nicolas Fawzi
Nicolas Fawzi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medical Science
Bio Med Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology & Biotechnology
Work: +1 401-863-5232
My laboratory studies the structure, dynamics, and molecular interactions of protein aggregates implicated in neurodegenerative disease. Using a combination of novel NMR spectroscopy approaches and atomistic simulation supplemented by biophysical and imaging methods, we determine high-resolution structures of these species and their toxic interactions with other macromolecules and membranes, as well as their interactions with potential therapeutic agents.


Nicolas Fawzi received undergraduate degrees in bioengineering and marketing at the University of Pennsylvania. He received a Ph.D. from the Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley and UCSF for his work with Teresa Head-Gordon on molecular simulation of protein aggregation, and completed postdoctoral training in the group of G. Marius Clore at the National Institutes of Health in biomolecular NMR spectroscopy of protein association and aggregation. Nicolas Fawzi joined the faculty at Brown in January 2013.

Research Description

The goal of my research group is to determine the structure and elucidate the molecular mechanisms of toxicity of aggregated and aggregation-prone states of proteins in neurodegenerative disease. My current aims are directed at RNA-binding proteins involved in ALS and frontotemporal dementias as well as amyloid-β aggregation associated with Alzheimer's Disease.

Grants and Awards

2002 Graduate Fellow, Whitaker Foundation
2012 Sacconi Centennial Grant, 12th Chianti/INSTRUCT Workshop on BioNMR
2012 Postdoctoral Research Award, Division of Physical Chemistry Division, American Chemical Society


2005-present Member of American Chemical Society
2010-present Member of Biophysical Society

Funded Research

RI-INBRE Pilot Project
"Structural Characterization of Soluble and Neurotoxic Aggregates of FUS"
11/15/2012 - 4/30/2013 $15,000
Role: PI

Selected Publications

  • Fawzi NL, Ying J, Torchia DA, Clore GM. Probing exchange kinetics and atomic resolution dynamics in high-molecular-weight complexes using dark-state exchange saturation transfer NMR spectroscopy. Nat Protoc. 7: 1523-1533. (2012). (2012)
  • Ball KA, Phillips AH, Nerenberg PS, Fawzi NL, Wemmer DE, Head-Gordon T. Homogeneous and heterogeneous tertiary structure ensembles of amyloid-beta peptides. Biochemistry. 50: 7612-7628. (2011). (2011)
  • Fawzi NL, Fleissner MR, Anthis NJ, Kalai T, Hideg K, Hubbell WL, Clore GM. A rigid disulfide-linked nitroxide side chain simplifies the quantitative analysis of PRE data. J Biomol NMR. 51: 105-114. (2011). (2011)
  • Fawzi NL, Ying J, Ghirlando R, Torchia DA, Clore GM. Atomic-resolution dynamics on the surface of amyloid-beta protofibrils probed by solution NMR. Nature. 480: 268-272. (2011). (2011)
  • Fawzi NL, Ying J, Torchia DA, Clore GM. Kinetics of amyloid beta monomer-to-oligomer exchange by NMR relaxation. J Am Chem Soc. 132: 9948-9951. (2010). (2010)
  • Fawzi NL, Doucleff M, Suh JY, Clore GM. Mechanistic details of a protein-protein association pathway revealed by paramagnetic relaxation enhancement titration measurements. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 107: 1379-1384. (2010). (2010)
  • Fawzi NL, Okabe Y, Yap EH, Head-Gordon T. Determining the critical nucleus and mechanism of fibril elongation of the Alzheimer's Abeta(1-40) peptide. J Mol Biol. 365: 535-550. (2007). (2007)
  • Marianayagam NJ, Fawzi NL, Head-Gordon T. Protein folding by distributed computing and the denatured state ensemble. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 102: 16684-16689. (2005). (2005)
  • Brown S, Fawzi NJ, Head-Gordon T. Coarse-grained sequences for protein folding and design. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 100: 10712-10717. (2003). (2003)