Berman, Helen M.

Distinguished Professor / Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Helen M. Berman

Phone: 848-445-4667

E-mail: E-mail

FAX: 732-445-4320

Office: Center for Integrative Proteomics Research (CIPR) 208NP

Mail: SAS - Chemistry & Chemical Biology, 174 Frelinghuysen Rd, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8076


Education Links
  • A.B., 1964, Barnard College
  • Ph. D., 1967, University of Pittsburgh

Research Summary

Collagen sculptureFrom 1998-2014, I was the Director of the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics Protein Data Bank (RCSB PDB). RCSB PDB is a member of the Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB) that manages the PDB archive of information about the structures of proteins, nucleic acids, and complex assemblies. I also serve a leadership role for the EMDataBank and am the Director Emerita of the RCSB PDB. I am now working on a collaborative project to develop infrastructure for the archiving of structures determined using Integrative/Hybrid Methods.

The work on these projects has been informed by our research and studies in structural biology, in particular protein-nucleic acid interactions, binary and ternary complexes with catabolite activating protein (CAP), and nucleic acids. Currently, we are working in new classification schemes for transcription factors with a focus on understanding the details of the protein-nucleic acid interface.

Another special area of our research interest is the structure and interactions of collagen.

Awards & Honors

  • Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
  • Fellow, International Society for Computational Biology
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Fellow of the Biophysical Society
  • 2000 Distinguished Service Award, Biophysical Society
  • 2006 M.J. Buerger Award
  • 2007-2009 Distinguished Lecturer, Sigma Xi
  • 2010 Department of Chemistry Alumni Award, University of Pittsburgh
  • Fellow, American Crystallographic Association
  • 2012 Carl Brändén Award, Protein Society
  • 2013 DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • 2014 Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences

Selected References

Hudson BP, Quispe J, Lara-González S, Kim Y, Berman HM, Arnold E, Ebright RH, Lawson CL. Three-dimensional EM structure of an intact activator-dependent transcription initiation complex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Nov 24;106(47):19830-5. (

Berman HM, Westbrook JD, Gabanyi MJ, Tao W, Shah R, Kouranov A, Schwede T, Arnold K, Kiefer F, Bordoli L, Kopp J, Podvinec M, Adams PD, Carter LG, Minor W, Nair R, La Baer J. The protein structure initiative structural genomics knowledgebase. Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Jan;37(Database issue):D365-8. (

Berman H, Henrick K, Nakamura H. Announcing the worldwide Protein Data Bank. Nat Struct Biol. 2003 Dec;10(12):980.

Berman HM, Westbrook J, Feng Z, Gilliland G, Bhat TN, Weissig H, Shindyalov IN, Bourne PE. The Protein Data Bank. Nucleic Acids Res. 2000 Jan 1;28(1):235-42. (

Schneider B, Berman HM. Hydration of the DNA bases is local. Biophys J. 1995 Dec;69(6):2661-9. (

Bella J, Eaton M, Brodsky B, Berman HM. Crystal and molecular structure of a collagen-like peptide at 1.9 Å resolution. Science 1994 266:75-81. (

Berman HM, Olson WK, Beveridge DL, Westbrook J, Gelbin A, Demeny T, Hsieh SH, Srinivasan AR, Schneider B. The nucleic acid database. A comprehensive relational database of three-dimensional structures of nucleic acids. Biophys J. 1992 Sep;63(3):751-9. (

Research Area(s): 
Biophysical Chemistry