February 2011

Axel T. Brunger wins inaugural ASBMB DeLano Award

Stanford University professor Axel T. Brunger has been named the winner of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s inaugural DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences.

“While I feel greatly honored to receive the inaugural DeLano award, this is also a bittersweet moment because we have lost such a great young talent. By making his developments readily accessible, Warren had such a broad impact in the biological sciences. It is fitting that ASBMB and the Warren DeLano Memorial Fund have established this award to honor his memory.”
– AXEL T. BRUNGER


Stanford University professorAxel T. Brunger has been named the winner of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s inaugural DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences.

The award was established to honor those who create accessible and innovative developments or applications of computer technology to enhance research in the life sciences at the molecular level. Nominees’ contributions must promote (a) more productive use of computers to accelerate and facilitate research and (b) ready access of those programs for the scientific community.

“Axel was the principal designer of CNS, which for over a decade has been the standard refinement program used by the structural (biology) community,” said James A.Wells of the University of California, San Francisco, one of Brunger’s nominators. “He has clearly made enormous contributions to structural biology by defining, developing and automating crystallographic refinement methods.”

Established this year, the computational award aims to honor the legacy of the late Warren L. DeLano, a scientist and entrepreneur who promoted open-source technology and believed in making his programs and source code freely available to users and enabling researchers to build on his developments. While a graduate student, DeLano created PyMOL, an open-source tool for visualizing the three-dimensional structures of proteins and other biological molecules.

Wells credits Brunger, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, for being a great mentor to DeLano, who died unexpectedly in November 2009 at age 37.

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