American Philosophical Society
Member History

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2. Biological Sciences[X]
206. Physiology, Biophysics, and Pharmacology[X]
1Name:  Dr. Howard C. Berg
 Institution:  Harvard University
 Year Elected:  2002
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  206. Physiology, Biophysics, and Pharmacology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1934
 Death Date:  December 30, 2021
Howard Berg received a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1964, was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows (1963-66), and remained at Harvard as an associate professor of biology and chairman of the Board of Tutors in Biochemical Sciences until 1970. He then moved to the University of Colorado, serving as professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology and department chairman until 1979 when he became a professor of biology at the California Institute of Technology. In 1986 he returned to Harvard University and is currently professor of molecular and cellular biology and professor of physics, and a member of the Rowland Institute. Howard Berg was a chemist (B.S., Caltech); a medical student (two years at the Harvard Medical School); and then a graduate student in physics and Junior Fellow. As a physicist he worked with Norman Ramsey on the atomic hydrogen maser and with Ed Purcell on what is now called sedimentation field-flow fractionation. In 1968 he became interested in the motile behavior of bacteria. He has made many seminal contributions to understanding the biophysics of motility. Among other things, he and coworkers showed, via three-dimensional tracking, that E. coli executes a biased random walk and that bacterial flagella rotate: they do not wave or beat. This surprising conclusion has led Howard Berg to study the structure, genetics and physiology of the remarkable flagellar motor. Also, he has figured out how spirochetes swim, what bacterial flagella actually do when cells run and tumble and, with Ed Purcell, he developed the basic theory of the physics of chemoreception. His book Random Walks in Biology (1993), mostly about diffusion, has become a classic. His writings on life at low Reynolds numbers are great science and illustrate his intellectual reach: from pure physics to true biological understanding. His significant contributions to science reflect an approach to biological problems of a very perceptive biologist with the mind-set of a talented physicist. His inquisitiveness and productivity are models of scientific inquiry. A more recent book, E. coli in Motion (2004), reviews the field of bacterial chemotaxis. Dr. Berg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In 2008 he received the Biophysical Society's annual award for Outstanding Investigator in Single Molecule Biology. He was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2002.
2Name:  Dr. Pamela J. Bjorkman
 Institution:  California Institute of Technology
 Year Elected:  2002
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  206. Physiology, Biophysics, and Pharmacology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1956
Pamela J. Bjorkman is the Max Delbrück Professor of Biology the California Institute of Technology. She was an HHMI Investigator from 1989-2015. She received a B.A. degree in chemistry from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Harvard University. As a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow in Don Wiley's laboratory, she solved the crystal structure of a human histocompatibility molecule. She continued her postdoctoral training at Stanford University with Mark Davis, where she worked on T cell receptors. Dr. Bjorkman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Fundamental Immunology from the Cancer Research Institute (shared with Don C. Wiley and Jack L. Strominger), the James R. Klinenberg Science Award from the Arthritis Foundation, the Gairdner Foundation International Award for achievements in medical science (shared with Don C. Wiley), and the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Award (shared with Jack L. Strominger and Hans-Georg Rammensee). Dr. Bjorkman's laboratory is interested in protein-protein interactions, particularly those mediating immune recognition. The laboratory uses X-ray crystallography and biochemistry to study purified proteins, and is beginning to include confocal and electron microscopy (EM) to examine protein complexes in cells. Some of the work focuses upon homologs and mimics of class I MHC proteins. These proteins have similar three-dimensional structures but different functions, including immune functions (IgG transport by the neonatal Fc receptor, FcRn; evasion of the immune response by viral HMC mimics) and non-immune functions (regulation of iron or lipid metabolism by HFE and ZAG). Dr. Bjorkman's laboratory is also comparing the structures and functions of host and viral Fc receptors with RcRn.
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