Helen M. Berman is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor Emerita of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University, and Research Professor of Quantitative and Computational Biology at the University of Southern California. She earned her AB in Chemistry from Barnard College in 1964 and her Ph.D. in Natural Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh in 1967. After her postdoctoral training, she went to the Institute for Cancer Research, Fox Chase Cancer Center where she rose through the ranks from Research Associate to Senior Member. In 1989, she joined the faculty of Rutgers University. She is a Fellow of American Academy for Arts and Sciences, the Biophysical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Crystallographic Association, and the International Society for Computational Biology. She has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She is the recipient of several awards including the Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences, the DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences, the ACA Martin Buerger and David Rognlie Awards, the Distinguished Service Award from the Biophysical Society, and the Carl Branden Award from the Protein Society.

Research Interests

A key focus of Helen Berman’s work has been the creation of resources containing information about biological macromolecules. This has required the careful development of ontologies, systems, and methods for the collection, validation, distribution, and analysis of these data. She played a key role in founding the Protein Data Bank in 1971 and was the Director of the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB) Protein Data Bank (PDB) from 1998 to 2014. She was a founding member of the Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB) in 2003. She was a founder of the Nucleic Acid Database and was a leader int the development of a novel infrastructure for archiving integrative structural models. Her work on structural databases has been informed by structural and computational studies of nucleic acid containing molecules and collagen. Those studies highlighted the key role that water plays in structure and recognition.

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Primary Section

Section 29: Biophysics and Computational Biology