Chief Life Scientist
Wayne Hendrickson, a longtime structural biology user at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), was appointed Chief Life Scientist in the Photon Sciences Directorate in 2010. He had been Associate Project Director for Life Sciences with the NSLS-II Project since 2009. Beyond Brookhaven Lab, Hendrickson is also University Professor at Columbia University and Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Hendrickson is establishing and developing the life sciences program at NSLS-II by:
- Developing the strategic plans for the use of NSLS-II in life sciences research
- Coordinating with the life sciences community and representing its needs
- Communicating with potential funding agencies
- Representing the needs of life sciences in the design and construction of NSLS-II
- Overseeing the development, construction, and operation of life sciences facilities (including beamlines) at NSLS-II
Hendrickson received his Ph.D. in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University in 1968 and completed his postdoctoral research at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). He remained at NRL as a Research Biophysicist until 1984, when he joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia. In 2008, Hendrickson was named the Violin Family Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics.
Research in Hendrickson's laboratory focuses on the structure and function of biological molecules. He and his colleagues use x-ray crystallography to study molecular properties in atomic detail. By analyzing x-ray beams diffracted from crystals, they are able to reconstruct images of crystallized molecules. Their advances in diffraction methods (notably, stereochemically restrained refinement, the multiwavelength-anomalous-diffraction (MAD) method, selenomethionyl proteins, and synchrotron instrumentation) have been instrumental in the emergence of structural biology as a major force in modern biology and molecular medicine. They use this technology themselves in investigations on membrane receptors and cellular signaling, on viral proteins and HIV infection, and on molecular chaperones and protein folding.
Hendrickson is the spokesperson for NSLS beamlines X4A and X4C, a role he has held since 1987. He also serves on advisory bodies for various scientific organizations, is a founding editor of Current Opinion in Structural Biology and of Structure, and he is a founder of SGX Pharmaceuticals. He has received the Aminoff Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Gairdner International Award, and the Harvey Prize of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Hendrickson also is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.