Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Brunger, Axel T.
Location Stanford University
Primary Field Biophysics and Computational Biology
Secondary Field Biochemistry
 Election Citation
Brunger's concepts and strategies helped provide the foundation for much of modern structural biology. His determination of macromolecular structure of complex protein machinery by crystallography and NMR may ultimately lead to improved therapeutics.
 Research Interests
Brunger developed computational tools that enabled determination of difficult X-ray crystal structures and also made the methods accessible to the non-expert. Among his innovations that have become standards in the field are simulated annealing refinement, a method to overcome local minima, and the free R value, an objective measure of a model's quality. More recently, Brunger uncovered the molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release when synaptic vesicles fuse with active zones of presynaptic neurons. To capture and study the protein machinery at work, he determined three-dimensional structures ranging from atomic to cellular resolutions and then reconstituted these machines with biophysical assays.

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