José N. Onuchic is a Brazilian and American physicist, the Harry C & Olga K Wiess Professor of Physics at Rice University. He does research in molecular biophysics, condensed matter chemistry, and genetic networks, and is known for the folding funnel hypothesis stating that the native state of a protein is a deep minimum of free energy for the protein's natural conditions among its possible configurations.
Onuchic studied at the University of São Paulo and the California Institute of Technology, earning his doctorate in 1987; his doctoral supervisor at Caltech was John Hopfield. After postdoctoral studies in Santa Barbara, California, and a brief faculty position returning to the University of São Paulo, he moved to the University of California, San Diego in 1990. He joined Rice University as the Andrew Hays Buchanan Professor of Physics in 2011.
Onuchic received a Beckman Young Investigators Award in 1992.He became a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1995, of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009, and of the Biophysical Society in 2012. He became a member of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences in 2006, and of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences in 2009.
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