Protein Society Honors Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Helen Berman
Helen Berman, Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, has received the Carl Brändén Award from the Protein Society. The Protein Society Awards recognize those with distinguished achievements in protein science, or who have made outstanding contributions in leadership, teaching and service.In the tradition of the late Carl Brändén, a pioneer in structural biology, the Carl Brändén Award, sponsored by Rigaku Corporation, is given to an outstanding protein scientist who has also made exceptional contributions in the areas of education and/or service to the science. Berman joined the faculty at Rutgers in 1989. She became the Director of the Protein Data Bank in 1998, and was a founding member of the Worldwide Protein Data Bank 2003. The Protein Data Bank is now housed in a new Center for Integrative Proteomics Research at Rutgers.
Professor Berman received her Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1967 after 3 years from the University of Pittsburgh under the direction of George Alan Jeffrey, and stayed on for postdoctoral training as a National Institutes of Health Trainee. She then joined the Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1969, and spent the next 20 years developing her own research program that focused on nucleic acid crystallography and the interactions between nucleic acids and drugs. At Rutgers, she expanded her crystallographic program to the study of proteins, including the structures of collagen, protein-nucleic acid interactions, and binary and ternary complexes with catabolite activating protein (CAP), while at the same time developing structural databases and ontologies. As head of the Research Collaboratory (RCSB), Berman became the Director of the Protein Data Bank (PDB) in 1998, and was a founding member of the Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB) collaboration in 2003. The wwPDB supports scientific research and education by providing the essential PDB archive of information about the experimentally-determined structures of proteins, nucleic acids, and complex assemblies to the global community. Other biological data management projects include EMDataBank.org, a global deposition and retrieval network for cryo electron microscopy map, model and associated metadata, and the Structural Biology Knowledgebase, an online resource that combines the products of Protein Structure Initiative (PSI) research with biological data from over 150 annotation resources to give comprehensive information about proteins.