Director, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics
Proteins carry out an enormous array of functions, from chemical catalysis over molecular sensing to the efficient interconversion of chemical, mechanical, electrical, and light energy. Modern molecular simulations implemented on powerful computing platforms make it possible to “watch” proteins as they function. We study biomolecular processes over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales, from light-driven dynamics using hybrid quantum-classical descriptions, over the rotation in molecular motors using atomistic classical dynamics, to organelle-scale membrane sensing and remodeling using coarse-grained descriptions.
Gerhard Hummer received his PhD in physics in 1992 for work at the University of Vienna, Austria, and the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany. He joined the Los Alamos National Laboratory, first as a postdoctoral fellow (1993-1996) and then as a group leader (1996-1999). In 1999, he moved to the National Institutes of Health, where he became Chief of the Theoretical Biophysics Section, and Deputy Chief of the Laboratory of Chemical Physics, NIDDK. In 2013 he joined the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt, Germany, as director of the newly formed Department of Theoretical Biophysics. Since 2016, he is also Professor of Biophysics at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. Dr Hummer uses molecular simulations, modeling, and theory to study the structure and dynamics of biological systems at the molecular level, in an effort to elucidate their function. His current research focuses on molecular principles in bioenergetics, membrane transport, and membrane remodeling. Gerhard Hummer is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2005) and received the Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in Biophysics (2010).