Director of Protein Data Bank Lecture on April 24

Posted on 4/17/2008 12:49:51 PM

The IUP chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, announces the Distinguished Lecture Series for Spring 2008.

“Creating a Data Resource for Biology: Lessons from the Protein Data Bank” will be presented by Dr. Helen M. Berman of Rutgers University from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Thursday, April 24, 2008, in Eberly Auditorium.

You are invited to attend! This presentation is open to the public and appropriate for a general audience. Please also encourage students to attend.


There are many considerations when building a community resource for enabling science. One is the necessity of a scalable infrastructure that can handle vast amounts and different types of data. This infrastructure must also be able to adapt to new and changing technologies. Another concern is how to solicit and incorporate the needs and wants of a variety of user communities. How are policies created and enforced? A case history of a global resource for science, the Protein Data Bank (PDB), will be presented. The PDB has been the archive for the three-dimensional coordinates for experimentally determined biological structures. Today, it is a resource used by researchers and students studying the structures of biological macromolecules and their relationships to sequence, function, and disease.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Berman is director of the RSCB Protein Data Bank, a repository for three-dimensional structural data of proteins and nucleic acids, and professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University. Dr. Berman has contributed significantly to the understanding of the relationship between the structural properties of biological molecules and their biological functions. She also spearheaded the creation of the Nucleic Acid Database. Both these efforts have greatly helped the scientific community establish methods to collect, archive, and analyze structural data. Her research focuses primarily on the structures of protein-nucleic acid complexes and the role of water as a mediator in intermolecular interactions. Dr. Berman completed her Ph D. in 1967 at the University of Pittsburgh.

For more information, contact Rick Adkins by e-mail at or by phone at 724-357-3790.

Also find more information on the Sigma Xi website.