Communications Committee Candidates

Graciela Díaz de Delgado, Professor of Chemistry

Departamento de Química, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Los Andes

Mérida, Venezuela


Education: MA (1985) and PhD (1988)  in Chemistry, Brandeis University, USA; Licenciatura (1982) Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela.

Professional Activities: Chair of the Materials Science Program in the Chemistry Graduate Division, ULA; member of the Steering Committee to establish the Latin American Union of Crystallography and to plan Latin American activities for the International Year of Crystallography. Chair of the Grant-in-Aid Committee of the ICDD; member of the ICDD Ludo Frevel Scholarship Committee; member of the Editorial Board of J. Chem. Cryst. and reviewer for several journals.  Member: The IUCr Subcommittee on the Union Calendar (2002-2011); advisory committees of the Venezuelan Academy of Sciences; the Committee for activities of the International Year of Chemistry (2011); and the international advisory board of ICCOSS. Organizer: Courses; workshops; national and international meetings in chemistry and crystallography; the Venezuelan Chemical Society (2005), ICCOSS (2007); and a Latin American Symposium on Organometallic and Coordination Chemistry (2009).  Chair and Co-Chair of sessions and symposia at ACA, IUCr, and Latin American chemistry congresses.

Research Interests: Solid state reactivity of unsaturated carboxylic acids and their metal derivatives. Relationship between their structures and reactivity. Structural characterization of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and natural products isolated from plants used in Venezuelan folk medicine. Polymorphism in these compounds.

Statement: The American Crystallographic Association has sustained a continuous effort to incorporate new and better ways of communication within its community and with the society in general. The publications produced by the ACA have increased the presence of the Association in the scientific community and should continue to grow in quality and scope. In today's world, any ideas and proposals coming from people of different latitudes should be welcome to better disseminate the important role that crystallography has played for decades in the improvement of our quality of life. As a South American member of the ACA since 1987, I would like to contribute, through the Communications Committee, to the important task of making more people aware of the impact that crystallography has had and will continue to have in our lives. I will actively participate within the ACA organization in the promotion of the activities to be organized for the International Year of Crystallography (IYCr). Being a member of the steering committee established to organize the Latin American Union of Crystallography and to plan activities for the IYCr in Latin America, I will take the opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the ACA and the Latin American crystallographic community.


Richard J. Staples, Academic Specialist, Crystallographer

Department of Chemistry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI


Education: PhD, Chemistry (1989) University of Toledo

Professional Activities:  Webinar presentation on Crystal Growth and Mounting Bruker (2010); Chair of ACA Small Molecule and Service Crystallography SIGs (2002, 2003); instructor for summer school X-ray Crystallography for Industrial and Academic Chemists (2007);  Bruker/MIT Symposium workshops (2005 and 2006);  summer school X-ray Crystallography for Industrial Chemists (2005); and ACS summer school X-ray Crystallography for Organic Chemists (2004).  Reviewer: NIH and NSF panels, proposals for ALS, various journals. Memberships: ACA, ACS, AAAS, AAPS and Protein Society.  Publication of over 200 peer reviewed papers; Distinguished Service Medal, Harvard U., Dept. of Chemistry.

Research Interests:  Recent interests involve the development of crystallization techniques and procedures that can provide single crystals of small organic or inorganic compounds quickly and efficiently.  I present this information to chemists by way of course and web interactions so as to help them understand the importance of small molecule crystallography. This includes the formation of a laboratory section of the x-ray course to include crystal growing of simple organic compounds and expansion to macromolecular x-ray diffraction.

Statement:   Communication of scientific results has long been one of the most important aspects of a researcher's career and progress, but in today's new internet society  it is even more important to be sure our results reach  a wide general audience in such a way that they understand the significance of the results.   Our ability to project a sense of great accomplishment is vital to our ability to continue to help drive the social and political landscape that keeps the funds flowing.  This ability to make the general public aware of the how and why we need to continue research in these areas is essential to the foundation of an advanced society. We must have a strong and focused PR in the ACA if we are to continue to convince those involved that the science we generate is a necessity.  This will have profound effects on our funding and ability to attract talented individuals to continue to explore the exciting world that encompasses the broad activities of the ACA.


 Continuing Education Committee Candidates

Nicholas Silvaggi, Assistant Professor

Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI


Education: PhD (2003) University of Connecticut, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology; BS/Biology (1998) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Professional Activities: ACA member since 2000; Chair, Young Scientists SIG (2001-2002); ACS member since 2008.

Research Interests: Nonribosomal peptide biosynthesis and developing enzymes as tools for organic synthesis. My lab uses traditional structural biology and mechanistic enzymology methods, supplemented with a number of complimentary biophysical techniques, to determine the structures and catalytic mechanisms of enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of bacterial secondary metabolites.

Statement: I am honored to accept this nomination to the Continuing Education Committee. It is increasingly common that researchers in fields outside of the various crystallographic disciplines are incorporating crystallography into their laboratories. This positive trend is tempered by the fact that university courses in x-ray diffraction theory are becoming less common. As a result, we now have more people using the technique and fewer who thoroughly understand it. I believe the ACA can do a great deal to help remedy this situation.

The ACA meetings, and especially the workshops, provide valuable and vital training opportunities that benefit novice crystallographers, and keep more established investigators current. These meetings also provide some of the only interactions many of us have with crystallographers in other sub-disciplines. But beyond these traditional benefits of the ACA meetings, I think we can do more to support and facilitate education in crystallographic theory and practice. If elected to the Continuing Education Committee,  I will work to not only ensure that we continue to provide high quality educational experiences at the annual meeting, but also to leverage the tremendous existing resources to reach larger numbers of students and researchers.



Kraig Wheeler, Professor

Department of Chemistry, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL


Education: BA, Chemistry, University of Minnesota (1987); PhD, Chemistry, Brandeis University (1992); postdoctoral fellow, University of Texas,  Austin (1993).

Professional Activities: Chair, Small Molecule SIG (2007); Co-organizer, Transactions Symposium (ACA12), Crystallography at Undergraduate Institutions (ACA12), Supramolecular Chemistry (ACA07), Midwest Organic Solid State Chemistry Symposium (2011), ACS-PRF Crystallography Summer Workshop for Organic Chemists (2004, 05, 07); USNCCr (2012); Councilor, Council on Undergraduate Research (2007-present).

Research Interests:  Organic supramolecular chemistry, enantio-controlled solid-state reactions, crystal transformations, quasiracemic materials, molecular topology, noncentrosymmetric molecular assemblies, and molecular recognition processes.

Statement: Continuing Education within the context of the ACA describes a wide range of educational initiatives directed at entrenched practitioners to those just starting out with their careers.  The ACA's Continuing Education Committee (CEC) serves as one of the critical service arms of the organization.  How critical?  In 2001, the ACA council consolidated the assortment of standing committees to three - Continuing Education; Data, Standards and Computing; and Communication - to provide more continuity and focused leadership for the emerging issues in our changing discipline.  The CEC is distinguished as the only standing committee responsible for providing readily accessible professional development and thus its success (or demise) has far reaching implications to the crystallographic and scientific communities.  This committee's rich history of sponsoring educational opportunities is quite evident by its support over the last several years of crystallographic summer schools and ACA national conference activities (e.g. workshops, sessions, and travel grants). 

I am honored to be nominated to serve on the CEC.  My past service to the ACA has been enriching and I am excited by the opportunity and new challenge of serving on this standing committee.  For the last 18 years, my experience as a faculty member at a predominantly undergraduate institution has provided many opportunities to explore and support the teaching of x-ray crystallography.  Inspiring students through purposed instructional activities and research programs still holds much interest to me.  This passion coupled with outreach activities (collaborations, workshop and session organizer) and managing a small-molecule single-crystal x-ray facility offer a unique perspective that should be of benefit to the ACA community. 

CEC continues to make its mark on the ACA.  Given the changing climate of the crystallographic community (instrumentation, software, and users), it is imperative that the Committee develop accessible high-impact programs that reach a broad demographic of users.  Two key areas that will likely need attention include:

(1) Workshops and summer schools.  The current offerings of ACA sponsored workshops and summer schools provides significant opportunities to train novice to seasoned users on the various aspects and depths of crystallography.  Because such activities are foundational to the mission of the committee, evaluating existing practices and extending current directions to other projects would provide excellent opportunities to foster innovative instruction.

(2) Next generation users. The success of future crystallographers and users will require formal instruction and hands-on experiences with crystallographic theory, data, and instrumentation.  Though this group most often includes post docs and graduate students, it is now increasingly apparent that there is considerable value in capturing an even younger crowd such as undergraduates and high school students. Academic and industrial institutions often serve as the initial point of exposure to our field; however, the ACA (the leading voice of crystallography in the Americas) should also play a pivotal role in the development of the next generation of x-ray users.  How to most effectively train and support these demographic groups, as well as their integration into organizational activities should be explored with best practices implemented.

As with any organization, developing excellent training programs requires effective planning, promotion, oversight, and execution by a dedicated group of individuals.  I see the ACA Continuing Education Committee as vitally important to the progress of our organization and profession and as such, if elected, I will commit to support and strengthen existing initiatives in addition to help identify strategies to initiate new programs and resources.


Data, Standards & Computing Committee Candidates

Charles Campana, Senior Scientist

Bruker AXS Inc., Madison, WI


Education: BS (1970) Chemistry, Montana State University; PhD (1975) Inorganic Chemistry; University of Wisconsin - Madison; Postdoc (1975 to 1976) University of Alberta.

Professional Activities:  Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of New Mexico (1976 -1980);  Consultant, Sandia National Laboratory (1976-1980); Senior Applications Scientist for single-crystal x-ray diffraction product lines - Nicolet Instrument Corporation, Siemens Analytical X-Ray Instruments, Inc.,  and Bruker AXS, Inc (1980-present); Instructor at ACA Summer Schools at University of Pittsburgh (1993-1996),   University of Georgia (1997-2002) and Indiana University (Pennsylvania) (2004 and 2005); Instructor in Crystallography Workshops at UCSD (2004, 2007), California State University - Fullerton; Cal Poly - Pomona (2011); Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore - 2004), UNAM (Mexico City - 2007) and Universidad de Santiago (Chile- 2003); problem structures workshops - Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, University of Nevada - Reno, University of Tennessee, Mexico City; instructor at Canadian Chemical Crystallography Workshop; Bruker / MIT Symposium (1995 to present); co-author of several hundred crystallographic papers; presented many papers at ACA, ACS and IUCr meetings ; reviewer for crystal structure publications in ACS journals.

Research Interests:   Development and testing of new hardware and software for commercial chemical crystallography instruments.  Production of technical documentation and training materials for commercial crystallographic systems.  Solution and refinement of difficult crystal structures.

Statement: During the past few decades we have witnessed the remarkable transformation of the field of x-ray crystallography brought about by the introduction of reliable low-temperature devices, micro-sources and new two-dimensional detectors, such as image plates, and CCD and CMOS detectors.  Coupled with improvements in computer hardware and new software algorithms, these advances in diffractometer technology have resulted in enormous increases in efficiency and productivity.  The improvements in data quality and the speed of data collection offered by new instrument technology have also extended the use of x-ray crystallography to a further level by facilitating structure determination on very small specimens, and twinned and aperiodic structures.  Charge-density studies, which were previously limited to very small molecules due to long data collection times (typically three to six months on conventional instruments), may now be carried out in less than one week on much larger molecules.

I believe that the ACA DSC Committee must play an active role in developing standards for validation, publication and archiving of modern crystallographic data.  This committee should help to facilitate the adoption of CIF extensions and validation programs for twinned and modulated structures and work with external groups to ensure that proper standards for validation and review of crystal structures are also adopted by non-IUCr journals. This committee should continue to support educational  ACA activities, such as workshops and tutorials to train new  users to properly use the latest technology to collect high quality experimental data and to carry out proper analysis of this data. In addition, ACA must take advantage of outreach opportunities to promote the proper use of crystallography by non-crystallographers (e.g., chemists and molecular biologists) in their research.


Thomas C. Terwilliger, Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow

Los Alamos, NM


Education: PhD (1981), Molecular Biology, UCLA;  AB (1978), Physics, Harvard.

Professional Activities: ACA member; IUCR Commission on Biological Macromolecules; IUCR Diffraction Data Deposition Working Group; Co-editor, Acta Crystallographica section F; Co-Editor, Journal of Structural and Functional Genomics; Executive Committee, International Structural Genomics Organization.

Research Interests:  Development of algorithms and software for macromolecular structure determination; structure determination of potential drug targets from pathogens including M. tuberculosis; development of methods for modifying proteins to increase their suitability for crystallization and structure determination.

Statement: I would be pleased to help represent the ACA in the current international discussions of two major ideas for crystallographic data deposition and data interpretation.  The first discussion is on the issue of deposition of diffraction images as a standard part of a PDB deposition.  My personal view is that this is highly desirable if it can be accomplished with relatively low cost and relatively low burden to the investigators.  I initiated the discussion in the fall of 2011 on the CCP4 bulletin board on this subject (see summary at, and I will continue to listen the views of ACA members as the discussion continues. The second discussion, related to the first but separate, is on continuous improvement of macromolecular crystal structures.  The idea is that methods continually improve, so applying today's methods can improve yesterday's structures, and applying tomorrow's methods will improve today's structures.  The question is whether it would be useful to change our paradigm of having a fixed interpretation of a crystallographic dataset into one where both the original and improved models might co-exist.  Depending on the question that is being asked, the most appropriate model could be used.