Wayne A. Hendrickson wins the 13th Ewald Prize for his exceptional contribution to structural biology including the development of MAD/SAD methods and crystallographic theory.

Wayne Hendrickson awarded the 13th Ewald Prize for his exceptional contributions to crystallography

Renowned structural biologist Wayne A. Hendrickson has been awarded the 13th Ewald Prize for his exceptional contribution to the field of structural biology. The prize, named after Paul Ewald, the founder of crystallography, is awarded annually to scientists who have made significant advancements in the field.

Hendrickson, who is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Violin Family Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, and University Professor, is widely recognized for his pioneering work on the development of multi-wavelength anomalous diffraction (MAD) and single-wavelength anomalous diffraction (SAD) methods, which have transformed the field of structural biology.

MAD and SAD methods involve the use of X-ray crystallography to determine the three-dimensional structure of macromolecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids. The methods are based on the exploitation of anomalous scattering, a phenomenon in which heavy atoms in the crystal scatter X-rays differently from lighter atoms. By measuring the anomalous scattering signal, researchers can determine the positions of the heavy atoms and thus solve the structure of the macromolecule.

Hendrickson's work has not only advanced the technical capabilities of structural biology, but it has also provided a deeper understanding of the fundamental principles of crystallography. His contributions to crystallographic theory have enabled researchers to achieve higher resolution structures with greater accuracy and efficiency.

In addition to his technical contributions, Hendrickson has also been a leader in promoting diversity and inclusivity in the scientific community. He has served as the chair of the American Crystallographic Association Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and has been a strong advocate for underrepresented groups in science.

The Ewald Prize, which is awarded by the European Crystallographic Association, comes with a cash prize of €4,000 and a commemorative plaque. Hendrickson will be presented with the award at the next European Crystallographic Meeting, which will take place in Krakow, Poland in August 2023.

Upon receiving news of the award, Hendrickson expressed his gratitude to the European Crystallographic Association and his colleagues in the field. He also emphasized the importance of collaboration in advancing scientific knowledge.

"I am deeply honored to receive the Ewald Prize and humbled to be included in the company of the distinguished scientists who have received this award in the past," Hendrickson said. "I believe that scientific progress is driven by collaboration and the sharing of ideas, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many talented researchers over the years."