Over 40 years ago, Michael Levitt was fortunate to be present at the very start of computation structural biology and indeed computational biology as a whole. His personal account of these historical events have been described before (Levitt, 2001). Here he will focus on the scientific lessons learned from those early times. He will then describe some of the work that has is on-going in his group and focus on how he sees the future of the field.
Pr. Michael Levitt is leading the Computational Structural Biology Lab in Stanford University BioX Clark Center. Full professor in the Structural Biology Department, he works on various aspects of Structural Bioinformatics.
Known for his pioneer work in protein-protein folding, he is an expert of energy functions for protein dynamics simulations which made current molecular dynamics experiments possible. He addresses multiple problems of modern computational biology, from protein structure refinement with experimental data to the relationship between homology and structure.
He was the first to introduce simplified representation for proteins and also molecular dynamics of nucleic acids in solution and in vacuo.
Michael Levitt obtained his PhD from Cambridge University in England in 1971. Before coming to Stanford in 1987, he was Postdoctoral fellow with Shneior Lifson in the Weizmann Institute in Israel, Staff Scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in England, visiting scientist with Francis Crick at the Salk Institute in La Jolla California, and Professor of Chemical Physics in the Weizmann Institute in Israel.
From 2001 and 2002 resp., he is a Fellow of the Royal Society in United Kingdom and Member of the US National Academy of Science. He is also editor for the Journal of Molecular Biology and a member of the Editorial Board of the Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.