ACA 2008 2008 Meeting of the
American Crystallographic Association
May 31 — June 5, 2008
Knoxville Convention Center, Knoxville, TN



Bi Cheng Wang
Bi Cheng Wang

2008 Patterson Award to Bi Cheng Wang
Bi Cheng (B.C.) Wang has been selected as the 2008 recipient of the ACA Patterson Award: "For significant contribution to the methodology of structure determination from single isomorphous replacement or single-wavelength anomalous scattering data and for its impact on structural biology."

A special award session is being planned by the BioMac SIG for Wednesday, June 4.

Members of the selection committee were: Frank Fronczek, Paul Langan, George Sheldrick, and Victor Young. 
In the early 1980s, macromolecular structure determination was a tedious and time-consuming process. In addition to protein supply, x-ray intensity, single point detectors, and computing resources, a major bottleneck in the process was the preparation of the heavy atom derivatives required for phasing.  This is because two or more isomorphous heavy atom derivatives were required for the multiple isomorphous replacement (MlR) method to work.  lt was during this time that B.C. was faced with the problem of a protein (Bence Jones protein Pav) that formed only a single platinum derivative.  Since the MIR technique could not be used, B.C. developed what was to become the first practical method for macromolecular structure determination from SIR or single wavelength anomalous scattering (SAS) data, a process he called noise filtering (also referred to as solvent flattening), that resurrected the technique of density modification. Working at the VA Medical Center in Pittsburgh, B.C. produced a suite of easy-to-use programs, including an innovative algorithm for automatic detection and generation of protein- solvent boundaries, called the lSlR/ISAS program package, which he freely provided to the community (including source code!).
It is interesting to note that in his seminal 1985 (Methods Enzymol, 115, 90-112) paper on solvent flattening, B.C. showed through simulation that a structure of a 113-residue protein could be determined using only the sulfur anomalous scattering signal from a single disulfide, provided that the data were measured accurately enough.  Now, 20 years later, structure determination using the sulfur anomalous scattering signal has gained considerable success, and SAS structure determination has supplanted both MIR and MAD as the most common method of de novo structure determination.
Throughout his long career B.C. has also contributed to crystallographic education as Director of the ACA Summer School, to synchrotron data collection as Director of SER-CAT at APS, and technological and methodological advances in the field as Director of the Southeast Collaboratory for Structural Genomics.
John Rose

Patterson Award established in 1980, is given every three years to recognize and encourage outstanding research in the structure of matter by diffraction methods, including significant contributions to the methodology of structure determination and/or innovative application of diffraction methods and/or elucidation of biological, chemical, geological or physical phenomena using new structural information.Previous winners of the A.L. Patterson Award are: 2005: Alwyn Jones; 2002: Douglas Dorset; 1999: Gerard Bricogne; 1996: Christer E. Nordman; 1993: George Sheldrick; 1990: Michael M. Woolfson; 1987: David and Lieselotte Templeton; 1984: Jerome Karle and Herbert Hauptman; 1981: Wayne A. Hendrickson.  The next Patterson Award will be made in 2008 (see the following article).


Radu  Custelcean
Radu Custelcean

2008 Margaret Etter Early Career Award to Radu Custelcean
The Etter Early Career Award recognizes the outstanding achievement and exceptional potential in crystallographic research demonstrated by a scientist at an early stage of their independent career. Radu Custelcean, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been selected to receive the 2008 award, "for his creative research in crystal engineering of novel and functional metal organic framework structures for selective ion binding."

A special award session is being planned by the Young Scientist and General Interest SIGs for Wednesday, June 4.

The award, established in 2002, is given annually to honor the memory of Professor Margaret C. Etter (1943-1992). She was a major contributor to the field of organic solid-state chemistry. Her work emphasized the use of hydrogen bonds and co-crystals. She was a great mentor to students and an inspiration to colleagues. The YSSIG and General Interest Group are teaming up to highlight up-and-coming crystallographers in this half-day session. Contributions from students and post-docs that encompass all areas of crystallography are invited.

The award consists of a monetary award of $1,000 dollars and a plaque. Scientists involved in crystallographic research in the broadest sense will be eligible for the award. At the time of the closing date for nominations, nominees must have begun their first independent (not postdoctoral) position within the past 6 years (not including career breaks).

Please submit nominations to the ACA office,, no later than May 1, 2008, for the 2009 Award. The Nomination Guidelines and form are available

In addition, nominations must include a nomination letter clearly indicating accomplishments since the nominee began an independent career and assessing future potential. Self-nominations are permitted. Nominees may be employed in academia (including service crystallography), in industry or in government laboratories.


2008 Poster Prizes