2019 ACA Annual Meeting Award Winners

The ACA recognizes distinguished achievement in the field of crystallography to both mature and early career crystallographers through the presentation of various annual awards and prizes.  

Bau Award: Bryan Chakoumakos

Tuesday, 7/23/2019 @ 8:00 AM | NKCC

Bryan Chakoumakos, Group Leader of the Structure of Matter, Quantum Condensed Matter Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is the recipient of the ACA’s 2019 Robert Bau Neutron Diffraction Award. This award recognizes “exceptional research achievements in neutron diffraction.” Chakoumakos has spent his career at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), starting as a staff scientist and, in 1993, transitioning into the Neutron Scattering Sciences Division where he became responsible for the oversight and development of many neutron powder and single-crystal neutron diffractometers. Between 2006 and 2011, Bryan served as Group Leader of Neutron Single-Crystal Diffraction at ORNL, overseeing the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) instruments, as well as the diffractometers at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HIFR). For many years, as group leader of diffraction at ORNL, Bryan has overseen the strongest suite of neutron diffractometers in the world. Bryan Chakoumakos is a productive researcher whose scientific achievements in the neutron sciences span a number of fields, as he leverages his profound knowledge of single crystal and powder diffraction to extract detailed structural information to aid in determining structure-property relationships in novel and technologically important materials. Perhaps his most durable legacy to the field of neutron diffraction took place in the early 1990’s. Bryan served as chair of the Single-Crystal Diffraction Working Group for the “Workshop on Instrumentation Needs and Performance Metrics for the National Spallation Neutron Source”. This event essentially kick-started what is today the SNS, the flagship neutron scattering facility in the U.S. Bryan then headed, as group leader, the next generation of instrument scientists in the construction, commissioning and operation of the suite of state-of-the-art, single-crystal diffractometers at the SNS. Bryan has been an engaged member of the ACA community, as chair of sessions, as invited speaker and as Chair of the Neutron Scattering and Powder Diffraction SIGs. Throughout his career, Bryan Chakoumakos has been a true ambassador for the neutron sciences.



Frankuchen Award: Eaton (Ed) Lattman

Monday, 7/22/2019 @ 8:00 AM | NKCC

Ed Lattman is the recipient of the 2019 Isidor Fankuchen Award, an award that is given “to recognize contributions to crystallographic research by one 
who is known to be an effective teacher of crystallography.” He is the Director of the BioXFEL Center, an NSF Science and Technology Center focused on applying new X-ray laser technology to further our understanding of the structure and function of biomacromolecular machines. He is also Professor of Structural Biology in the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Science. His scholarly achievements have contributed fundamentally to macromolecular crystallography and other diffraction methods. Ed was the first to articulate the currently used approach to molecular replacement, in which a known molecular structure is placed into an unknown cell. Today, almost five decades later, roughly 75 percent of all new protein structures are determined using this technique; few other advances achieve this degree of influence. Perhaps more importantly, Ed has contributed to the advancement of crystallography by thinking broadly and with deep insight into issues; for instance, he has written profoundly about conceptual problems in protein folding. Ed’s teaching of crystallography comprises a number of modalities over the years. His formal lectures have a clarity that helps his audience understand complex issues. At Johns Hopkins, in the laboratory and in Friday afternoon beer sessions, he thoughtfully and clearly discussed the nuances of crystallographic theory and practice making him a wonderful mentor. Ed brought his skills of teaching to IMCA with remarkable impact. He has provided a vision for growth and expansion of their scientific capabilities and of their thinking; for instance, he educates on new technologies. One of his wonderful qualities is his interest in the advancement of each scientist. At IMCA this has manifested itself by his talking to all of the IMCA staff and board members about science and about scientific growth and development. As a testament to the significant and prolonged impact that Ed has had and will continue to have is the authorship, with Patrick Loll, of a graduate text Protein Crystallography, a masterpiece of clarity. His impact goes far beyond that provided by his own publication list.


Trueblood Award: Brian Toby & Robert Von Dreele

Sunday, 7/21/2019 @ 8:00 AM | NKCC

The Trueblood award is given “to recognize exceptional achievement in computational or chemical crystallography.” Bob Von Dreele and Brian Toby, like Kenneth Trueblood, have both been pioneers in computational crystallography and, as a team, have had an unmatched impact on the progress of powder diffraction crystallography.  Bob is known for being a co-author of the General Structure and Analysis System (GSAS) suite of programs, the first to allow refinement of crystallographic models to either single-crystal or powder diffraction data and to utilize x-ray or neutron data. Before that, the analysis of crystal structures from powder data using the Rietveld method remained the domain of experts willing to, and capable of, delving into Rietveld’s refinement program. Though GSAS did make studies easier, the learning curve for using it was steep, especially for those just starting out with Rietveld refinement. Brian responded to this difficulty by writing a widely-used front-end to GSAS called EXPGUI that made GSAS more user-friendly and accessible to thousands of users. Brian’s amazing helpfulness to users all over the world has been instrumental to the impact that is seen from this suite of programs (GSAS-EXPGUI). It has been approximated from a survey carried out by the DANSE project that about 75% of users in the US who do Rietveld refinement use GSAS, of whom about 90% use the EXPGUI interface. More recently, Bob and Brian have, together, created GSAS-II that takes the functionality of GSAS+EXPGUI to a whole new level. It is a nearly completely new code, written using modern programming language, and with a greatly extended scope; it now includes area detector data reduction, structure solution, powder diffraction indexing, microstructure characterization and small-angle scattering analysis. The impetus for developing this new package was to provide a modern code that would integrate visualization in all stages of crystallographic analysis, better facilitate the needs of novices, and provide a platform for analysis of parametric diffraction studies. Part of the value of these pieces of software to the entire world is that they are distributed free of charge. Individually, both Brian and Bob have also contributed to the design and construction of diffractometers, Bob at Los Alamos and Brian at NIST. Teaming up they produced the most prolific beamline at the Advanced Photon Source and, arguably, the leading powder diffraction instrument in the world, known as 11-BM. Bob co-wrote the initial proposal that obtained the funding to build the instrument. Brian oversaw the construction but his most high profile contribution was in writing the software and interface for sample management that has allowed the instrument to be so efficient. Bob wrote the user interface for the on-site use of 11-BM. While not stated in the description of the award, it is nice to remember that Kenneth Trueblood was a superb teacher. Therefore, it is particularly satisfying to note that the impact of Bob and Brian’s work has been greatly enhanced by their willingness to devote large amounts of time to the training of novices in powder diffraction. They have done so in workshops and short courses offered around the world. Brian has been a stalwart lecturer at the ACA Summer Course while Bob has been teaching at the Erice Crystallographic School in Europe. Brian has also put together a series of tutorials that allow novice x-ray diffraction users to develop background on the technique. Both Brian and Bob have provided valuable service to the crystallographic community; Bob as ACA President and as a member of the US National Committee and Brian as a member, vice-chair and chair of the US National Committee. Brian has also spent years on extending the IUCr’s Crystallographic Information File electronic standard for exchange of crystallographic results to powder diffraction data. Together Bob and Brian have led significant advancements in the field of crystallography and played a pivotal role in the widespread community adoption of powder diffraction crystallography. They have changed the face of powder diffraction in the United States.


Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award: Efrain Rodriguez

Wednesday, 7/24/2019 @ 8:00 AM | NKCC

Efrain Rodriguez is the recipient of the 2019 Margaret Etter Early Career Award, an award given “to recognize outstanding achievement and exceptional potential in crystallographic research demonstrated by a scientist at an early stage of their independent career.” Efrain is Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland. He heads a solid state chemistry laboratory that combines chemical synthesis with advanced characterization of physical properties and atomic structure to tackle ways of controlling the physical properties of solids. At the heart of his group’s efforts to discover new functional materials through the preparation of inorganic compounds is structural characterization by x-ray and neutron diffraction. The educational path taken by Efrain started at MIT, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering. He then moved west to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) for a PhD in Materials, carrying out his PhD research between UCSB and Los Alamos National Laboratories. He won a competitive National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship to join the diffraction group of Mark A. Green at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research. He then moved to the University of Maryland. He has already established a very productive program in solid state sciences that is having high impact. He received an NSF CAREER award that supports his interest in looking for non-iron superconductor systems that display the specific magnetic behavior closely related to superconductivity. This award is “NSF's most prestigious award in support of junior faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.” And, in 2016, he was recognized as an Emerging Investigator by the Royal Society of Chemistry in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C for “carrying out work with the potential to influence future directions in materials chemistry.” Efrain is technically competent, thinks deeply about problems, is very innovative and has a great deal of drive. He is defining a new age in solid state and materials chemistry and is a pioneer in having a skill set in synthesis and characterization that will allow the scientific community to move into hitherto unknown areas.