Structural biologists elected to National Academy of Sciences

Left: Helen Berman delivering her keynote lecture "What the Protein Data Bank tells us about the past, present and future of structural biology" at the 2008 IUCr Congress in Osaka (photo contributed to the IUCr gallery by the Osaka Local Organizing Committee). Right: Catherine Drennan in the Drennan Research and Education Laboratory at MIT (photo by Kalman Zabarsky).

In recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, Helen Berman (Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA) and Catherine Drennan (MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA) were elected to the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in May 2023. The NAS is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and — with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine — provides science, engineering and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations. Current NAS membership totals approximately 2,400 members and 500 international members, of which approximately 190 have received Nobel Prizes.

Helen M. Berman is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor Emerita of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University. She played a key role in founding the Protein Data Bank (PDB) in 1971 and was the Director of the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB) PDB, a member of the Worldwide PDB, from 1998 to 2014. In her capacity as Director of the PDB, Professor Berman served as an ex officio member of the IUCr Commission on Biological Macromolecules, and has contributed many articles to IUCr journals.

Catherine (Cathy) L. Drennan is professor of chemistry and biology at the Drennan Research and Education Laboratory at MIT. The Drennan lab combines X-ray crystallography and cryoEM with other techniques to understand enzyme mechanisms, an approach they term “structural metalloenzymology”. Earlier this year, Professor Drennan won the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s 2023 William C. Rose Award for her outstanding contributions to biochemical research and commitment to training younger scientists.

14 October 2023

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