The 2005 Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, designed to strengthen the teaching and research careers of young faculty researchers, has been won by Harry A. Stern, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Rochester. Stern’s research, including work to understand the problems in biochemistry and structural biology by using ultra-precise computer simulations, earned him the $50,000 honor.
“We’re very proud to have one of our new researchers honored this way,” says Robert Boeckman, Jr., chair of the Department of Chemistry.
Stern joined the University in July, 2004. He had earned his bachelors in physics from Harvard University in 1994, and his doctorate in chemical physics from Columbia University in 2001.
Stern’s main research interest is to discover how the molecular interactions of critical biological processes function, by employing the latest computer simulation technology and a new method of replicating the mechanics of proteins. This new approach, called equilibrium statistical mechanical simulation, simplifies the problem of understanding biological processes because much of the necessary mathematics of the simulation is already well established. The result is that Stern expects to be able to provide a more accurate picture of how energy is used and transferred by an organism.
To undertake all of these simulations will require the development of a new kind of simulation methodology to describe proton transfer and exchange processes, which are vital to most biological systems.