Nobel laureate who pioneered computational biology will speak at UB

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Michael Levitt, a 2013 winner of the Nobel
Prize in Chemistry, isn’t Swedish but he began his speech at
the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm like this:

“Ers Majestäter, Ers Kungliga Högheter, Ers
Excellenser, Mina Damer och Herrar. Jag börjar på
svenska för att bevisa att jag fortfarande kan lära mig
något nytt 45 år efter arbetet som förde mig
hit….

“I start in Swedish to prove that I can still learn
something 45 years after doing the work that brought me
here.”

On May 2, scientists, students and interested community members
will hear about that work, which he is still passionately pursuing,
when Levitt, a Stanford University School of Medicine biophysicist
and professor of structural biology, gives the O.P. Jones Lecture
at the University at Buffalo at 3:30 p.m. in Butler Auditorium, 150
Farber Hall, on UB’s South Campus.

The talk is sponsored by the UB Clinical and Translational
Science Institute (CTSI) and the Department of Biomedical
Informatics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical
Sciences at UB. It is part of the CTSI Science Seminar series.

Levitt shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Martin
Karplus, PhD, of the University of Strasbourg and Harvard
University, and Arieh Warshel, PhD, of the University of Southern
California.

He said that the work that ultimately resulted in the Nobel
Prize started back in 1967. “The simplifications used then,
at the dawn of the age of computational structural biology, were
mandated by computers that were almost a billion times less
cost-effective than those we use today,” he explained.

While Levitt’s talk, titled “The Birth and Future of
Multiscale Modeling of Macromolecules” is geared to a
scientific audience, his contributions to science have had a
dramatic effect on a broad range of fields, from drug development
to materials science.

Buffalo-based scientists, in particular, have drawn on
Levitt’s advances, according to Ram Samudrala, PhD,…

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