Helen Berman

    Class of: Visiting Scholar





    Helen M. Berman, Ph.D.

    Board of Governors Distinguished Professor Emerita of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and a Visiting Artist in Residence at the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Visual Arts, School of Cinematic Arts, USC.


    Berman was a co-founder of the Protein Data Bank (PDB) that is an archive of information about the structures of proteins, nucleic acids, and complex assemblies and was the Director of the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics Protein Data Bank (RCSB PDB) from 1998-2014. As a structural biologist, she has always been fascinated by the architectures and functions of biological molecules and has also been inspired by their beauty. However, over the years she realized how difficult it is to communicate this to a broader audience. In 2015, she embarked on a new project to use film in order to educate others about the integral role played by molecules in health and disease. She collaborated with animators and documentary film makers to produce Target Zero. This film combines molecular animations that explain the molecular basis of HIV prevention and treatment, with compelling stories of patients in Los Angeles clinics. Target Zero won the prize for Best Educational Media at the 2017 Raw Science Film Festival. We look forward to future collaborations that bridge science, medicine and film making.

    Berman is a Fellow of the Biophysical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Crystallographic Association and the International Society for Computational Biology. 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 Brändén Award from the Protein Society.