Howard Berg at the University of Osnabrück (L to R): Wolfgang Junge, Professor of Biophysics; Claus R. Rollinger, President of the University of Osnabrück; Howard Berg; Karlheinz Altendorf, Dean of the Faculty of Biology and Chemistry
Osnabrück Awards Honorary Degree
On March 26, Professor Howard Berg of MCB was awarded a Doctor of Science honoris causa degree from the University of Osnabrück’s Faculty of Biology and Chemistry. Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Altendorf, the Faculty’s Dean, noted Dr. Berg’s “pathbreaking work”, and the Faculty’s March 26 announcement cited his “key contributions towards understanding how the interplay between random and targeted forces governs the nano-mechanics of cells.” The German University also notes the range of Dr. Berg’s interests: He “notably represents the holistic concept of the Life Sciences – from the physics of molecules to the lifestyle of organisms – to which the Biology Department of Osnabrück is committed.”
Biophysical Society/U.S. Genomics Award in Single Molecule Biology
On March 6, Dr. Berg was presented with the Biophysical Society’s annual U.S. Genomics Award for Outstanding Investigator in the Field of Single Molecule Biology (SMB). The presentation was made at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Society, held in Baltimore.
Sponsored by U.S. Genomics, the Award “was established to recognize an exceptional researcher for seminal contributions in the field” of SMB. Joe Falke, incoming President of the Biophysical Society, noted on the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News website that “Dr. Berg not only helped to found this modern field by establishing the very first single-motor assay, but continues today to lead the way with his unique and innovative approaches to single-cell and single-molecule physiology.” In addition to his research on flagellar rotary motors, Dr. Berg was recognized for developing devices, including trackers, sensors and optical traps, that laid the basis for much of today’s instrumentation in SMB.
Beyond recognizing pioneering accomplishments in SMB research, the Award is also “intended to encourage and promote work in this area of biophysics and importantly, to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration”. In this respect Dr. Berg is an exemplar. He is currently Herchel Smith Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology in MCB, a member of the Rowland Institute, and has participated in numerous interdisciplinary efforts, such as Harvard’s da Vinci Initiative.