President's Research Impact Award 2023. Inaugural Recipient: Jason McLellan.

The UT Tower will shine with burnt orange lights Thursday, April 6 in honor of the recipient of the university’s inaugural President’s Research Impact Award, faculty member and researcher Jason McLellan.

McLellan, the Welch Chair in Chemistry and a professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, played a key role in the development of the COVID-19 vaccines. He and his research team figured out how to produce a stable version of the coronavirus spike protein used to develop the leading COVID-19 vaccines. During the first year of vaccinations, nearly 20 million deaths were prevented because of COVID-19 vaccines, many of them featuring the McLellan Lab’s technology.

President Jay Hartzell established the award this year to recognize university researchers whose scholarly or creative endeavors have changed lives and the way we look at and understand the world.

“Jason’s work has not only saved lives but also saved our way of life,” Hartzell said. “This award speaks to our aspirations as Longhorns: to aim high, push the boundaries of knowledge, and contribute solutions to some of the greatest questions and challenges facing society, as we strive to become the highest-impact public research university in the world. Jason embodies that, and I am honored to present the inaugural award to him.”