NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Of the six scientists honored by the Biophysical Society as 2001 Society Fellows, two are prominent chemists at Rutgers -- Helen M. Berman and Wilma K. Olson. The award honors distinguished members who have demonstrated excellence in science and contributed to the expansion of the field of biophysics. There are currently about 6,000 members of the society and, to date, only 45 have been selected as fellows.
"The awards to Professors Berman and Olson are an affirmation of their scientific achievements and recognize their dedication to the pursuit of knowledge," said Joseph J. Seneca, university vice president for academic affairs. "They have demonstrated excellence in research areas that have profound implications for the future well-being of society and a life time of deep commitment to the education and training of the next generation of scientists."
Berman, a resident of Lawrenceville, is a professor of chemistry and director of the Protein Data Bank, an international computer-based, three-dimensional atlas of biological macromolecules available to researchers worldwide via the Internet. It provides an essential resource for genetic research, for drug design, and for understanding the causes, effects and treatment of disease.
She was selected as a fellow based on her contributions to the area of macromolecular structure, with particular emphasis on nucleic acids and on macromolecular solvation. Berman is also the year 2000 recipient of the Biophysical Society's Distinguished Service Award.
Wilma K. Olson, a resident of Mountainside, is the Mary I. Bunting Professor of Chemistry and director of the Center for Molecular Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry at Rutgers. She received the honor for her major contributions to molecular biophysics through groundbreaking studies of nucleic acids, in which she has developed and applied novel computational tools.