Fellows of the American Crystallographic Association

The ACA is proud to announce the Class of 2021 ACA Fellows.  An ACA Fellow is defined as "a Member whose efforts on behalf of the advancement of crystallography or its applications that are scientifically or socially distinguished." If you know of a deserving individual please submit a nomination.  Nominations are due each year by April 1st and the next class will be announced in the summer of 2022.  

ACA Fellows | Class of 2021

Leighton Coates, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Leighton Coates, Senior Scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), is a leader in the development of neutron protein crystallography. After spending two years as a post-doctoral researcher at the Los Alamos Neutron Scattering Center as a beamline scientist, he moved to ORNL to work with a team of engineers, scientists, and project managers to design and construct a macromolecular neutron diffractometer (MaNDi) at the Spallation Neutron Source. This five-year project resulted in an instrument that enables neutron diffraction studies of smaller single crystals with larger unit cells. Leighton then took responsibility for the commissioning, operation and continuing improvement of MaNDI. This diffractometer has become a productive and important instrument in single crystal diffraction since it provides critical complementarity to synchrotron-based protein studies. In particular, it is capable of mapping the hydrogen atom positions of the active regions of proteins.

Leighton’s research has centered on antibiotic resistance, most notably on the catalytic mechanism of class A β-lactamases using neutrons, X-rays and quantum mechanical simulations to probe proton transfer events. More recently he has collaborated on a pioneering and impressive experiment that studied an attractive coronavirus drug target, a ligand-free protease, at room temperature to compare with the structure solved at 100K. The active site cavity shows significant plasticity that indicates that the 100K ligand-free structure may not be physiologically relevant for molecular docking studies.

Leighton has grown the neutron user community in structural biology by organizing and speaking in workshops and sessions at the ACA annual meetings and other international meetings. He has also organized and attended smaller crystallographic meetings and local workshops that are important venues for younger scientists to speak, network and present research findings. Leighton is currently President of the Pittsburgh Diffraction Society (PDS).

Leighton has made outstanding professional contributions to neutron protein diffractometry by providing leadership in the development of both diffractometers and of software and methods to support neutron crystallography. He has contributed extensively to the crystallographic community by serving as President of the PDS, by organizing scientific meetings to promote and support neutron macromolecular crystallography, and publishing extensively in the crystallographic literature.


Jan Ilavsky, Argonne National Laboratory

Jan Ilavsky, Staff Scientist, X-Ray Science Division, Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory, has been a key figure in the development of small angle scattering (SAS) over the last two decades. He built and now supports the premier ultra-small-angle x-ray scattering (USAXS) facility at the APS. Under his stewardship the USAXS beamline at the APS has evolved from a niche instrument to a world-leading measurement facility. This facility enables unprecedented and accurate structure and microstructure characterization across a continuous size range from sub-Ångstrom to tens of micrometers. Under Jan’s leadership, the APS USAXS facility is now one of the most robust and productive small-angle scattering instruments in the world.

Jan is deeply committed to ensuring the strength and robust analyses of scattering data. To this end, he authored the general-purpose Nika and Irena software packages. They are widely used by the international small-angle scattering community for reliable SAS data reduction and analysis for both small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS). The user-friendly design of these software packages greatly eases what would otherwise be a steep learning curve, facilitates sound interpretation of data, and accelerates the data-to-publication process. Jan is also responsive to the SAS community and these packages, which are open source, are continually updated in response to user requests.

SAXS measurements characterize the microstructure and nanostructure of heterogeneous material systems. When intensity-calibrated, SAXS data also contain information that is key to determining a material’s performance in specific applications. Seeing a need, Jan developed and distributed a glassy carbon absolute x-ray intensity standard that was used until NIST, with input from Jan, developed a standard reference material (SRM).

Jan is dedicated to educational outreach. He has been tireless in training new users in small angle scattering methods with both extensive written tutorials for his software and via many workshops and schools used to teach the methods and analysis. His interest in improving the level of crystallographic knowledge and research in developing countries has taken him to Africa to teach scientists.

Jan, probably more than any other single individual, has internationalized quantitative methodology in small-angle x-ray scattering. He has made sustained and lasting contributions to applied science through his research, his teaching in various schools and workshops, and his service to the national and international crystallographic community.


Liang Tong, Columbia University

Liang Tong, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in Biological Sciences at Columbia University, has provided unprecedented molecular insights into cellular processes, especially large molecular complexes involved in RNA processing and fatty acid metabolism, using crystallography and cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM).  Liang is a highly productive researcher with over 300 publications, many in the very best journals, e.g. Science and Nature.  The impact of his work is reflected in an h index of 84.

Liang was the first to successfully reconstitute an active, human pre-mRNA 3’-end processing machinery, using 13 recombinant proteins and 2 synthetic RNAs.  He then determined the structure of this machinery, with the pre-mRNA substrate poised for the processing reaction.  This is the first structure of any active processing machinery.  This work has had broad impacts on understanding other RNA 3’-end processing machineries and RNA biology in general.

His studies on yeast Rai1 and mammalian homolog DXO unexpectedly revealed novel catalytic activities and has opened a new field of research on mRNA capping surveillance and has illuminated a previously unrecognized RNA quality control mechanism.  His studies on large metabolic enzymes have been equally remarkable.  One highlight is the first structure of the 500kD homodimer of acetyl-CoA carboxylase, the central regulator of fatty acid metabolism.  The structure reveals how the ten domains of this large enzyme work together to carry out the catalysis, as well as presenting a novel mechanism for its allosteric regulation.

Besides using crystallography and cryo-EM as tools to understanding biology, Liang has been highly productive in developing crystallographic technology and software, especially with respect to the molecular replacement method.  These software packages are in use in laboratories around the world.

Liang has been an active member of the ACA and a strong advocate for crystallography throughout his career.  He is currently a co-editor, with Eddy Arnold, of the Third Edition of the International Tables for Crystallography, Volume F:  Crystallography Biological Macromolecules.

Liang has made landmark contributions to understanding large molecular machines, has developed software used around the world and is contributing to the knowledge of future generations by his work on Volume F.


P. Lynne Howell, Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto

P. Lynne Howell, Senior Scientist in the Program in Molecular Medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children and Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto, has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie bacterial communication, bacterial adherence to solid surfaces and bacterial community formation. She has established herself as a world leader in determining x-ray crystal structures of bacterial proteins involved in surface adhesion and biofilm formation and in understanding how these processes lead to persistence and pathogenicity. Her work to uncover the structures, roles, catalytic residues and protein-protein interactions among numerous proteins in several exopolysaccharide biosynthetic clusters has been foundational to understanding the biochemistry that underpins how these microbes work.

The high caliber of Lynne’s research program is apparent from the distinctions she has received throughout her career, which include a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Investigator Award and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Structural Biology, the latter of which she has held for the maximum length of time (14 years). This latter award serves as testament to her consistent high-level productivity. She has 129 structures in the Protein Database (PDB) and has published over 170 articles, seven of which have been highlighted by the journal.

In addition to her excellence in research, Lynne has contributed service to the crystallographic community throughout her career. Among her roles have been: member of the program/organizing committee for the 1999 annual meeting of the ACA, member of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) Commission on Biological Macromolecules (2009-2017), member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Light Source (2014 - present), and member of the executive board of the Canadian National Committee for Crystallography (CNCC) (2011-2019). Her service has also included leadership roles in research areas at the Hospital for Sick Children.

Above all else, Lynne’s most notable achievement may be her mentoring of students, post-docs and young researchers, that is, her investment in the next generation of scientists. She takes time to truly mentor them. She is a role model and an inspiration to many young scientists and especially to women scientists.

Lynne is an exceptional scientist who has made important contributions to the field of structural biology, and to crystallography in particular; a leader in the crystallographic community; an enthusiastic mentor; and a strong proponent for young scientists and women in STEM.


Frank Hawthorne, University of Manitoba

Frank Hawthorne, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba, is arguably one of the most significant mineralogical crystallographers of our generation. He has devoted his career to developing a theoretical mathematical and chemical framework within which the structures of minerals can be understood and, more importantly, can be predicted.

Experimentally he has examined systematically the structure and properties of many different types of rock-forming minerals in particular and oxygen-based minerals in general. He has brought a wide range of diffraction, spectroscopic, and analytical techniques to bear on these systems. Minerals present complexities not normally encountered in the synthetic materials prepared in the laboratory so it is impractical to use conventional methods such as quantum mechanical and two-body potential calculations. He has shown that it is possible to predict mineral structures by analyzing the topologies of their bond networks and including the constraints described by the bond valence theory.

Frank’s contributions to the scientific community is immense in both quantity and impact. He has made 730 entries to the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database and 915 to the Inorganic Crystal Structure Database (ICSD); has 748 publications in the Web of Science; and has an h-index of 65. He has contributed 14 different chapters to the highly successful book series Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry. He has been mentor to numerous doctoral students who have gone on to advise their own students.

Frank’s distinguished career has been recognized with many awards; in fact, his honors fill an entire page in Wikipedia. Recently the American Crystallographic Association honored him with the M. J. Buerger Award (2018), an award “to recognize mature scientists who have made contributions of exceptional distinction in areas of interest to the ACA.” This was a particularly apt award since Professor Buerger was himself a mineralogist. In 2018 Canada appointed Frank a Companion of the Order of Canada, its highest award. In another arena, the mineral frankhawthorneite is named after him.

Frank has greatly advanced knowledge of the stabilities of minerals in geological processes and has benefited the crystallographic community by his many publications. The breadth of his work was captured by a colleague: “[Frank] has left few stones unturned in the mineralogical world.”


Richard E. Gillilan, Cornell University

Richard Gillilan, Staff Scientist at the macromolecular diffraction facility at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (MacCHESS), has been instrumental to the growth of biological small-angle X-ray scattering (BioSAXS) in the US and beyond.  He is a highly productive and innovative scientist whose  professional career has moved him from theoretical chemistry, to molecular dynamics, to scientific visualization with an emphasis on virtual reality, to his current work using X-ray scattering to address biological questions.  After notable contributions in the area of microcrystallography he turned to biological small-angle X-ray scattering.

Richard was responsible for developing a beamline at CHESS into a state-of-the-art BioSAXS facility.  He started with a feasibility study using PVC pipes and wooden blocks and built a world-class facility.  Richard has been the central driving force for the many advances of macromolecular SAXS at MacCHESS.  His deep appreciation for basic physics and optics has led him to successfully develop many effective beamline arrangements with appropriate detection technology for highly accurate and diverse SAXS experiments with widely varying samples.  When Richard first introduced BioSAXS to users at CHESS, he provided an end-to-end approach that has driven the success of users and the community worldwide.  This approach included the advancement of automation, the creation of user-friendly open-source software, equipping of wet lab facilities, and community outreach.  More recently Richard has become one of the leading pioneers of high-pressure studies and the BioSAXS station now boasts both a high-pressure static cell and a high-pressure chromatography system.  This facility provides the only high-pressure BioSAXS beamline in the Western Hemisphere.

Richard’s dedication to education and training has had an enormous impact on individuals who spend time with him at CHESS, on the ACA and on BioSAXS in the US.   He has been Chair of the Synchrotron Scientific Interest Group (SIG) and of the Small-angle Scattering SIG. He has organized numerous workshops and sessions, has developed YouTube tutorials, and his BioSAXS Essentials hands-on course has provided the foundational knowledge for many researchers new to SAXS.

His stated dream is to “build and support a scientific community, make exciting new experimental and computation tools accessible and enable great science.”  He has been successful.  Richard’s contributions to developing macromolecular SAXS methodology and training of a broad community of scientists to use SAXS are nothing short of spectacular.


Hanna Dabkowska, McMaster University

Hanna Dabkowska, Research Scientist at the Brockhouse Institute for Materials at McMaster University, has an international reputation for preparing the materials and growing the crystals essential for condensed matter research, particularly crystal growth through high-temperature melt methods. Her research into the physical properties of inorganic network materials has been published in such prestigious journals as Nature, Nature Communications and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Besides publishing research on crystal growth, she has provided educational materials on it, for example, chapters on crystal growth in the Handbook of Crystal Growth; Springer Handbook of Crystal Growth, Defects and Characterization; and Elementary Crystal Growth. She has over 230 publications in peer-reviewed journals and they have earned her an h-index of 41.

Hanna has proven to be a valuable mentor to crystallographers, especially those in the early stages of their careers. She has provided attention and opportunities, and has given selflessly of her time and wisdom. In her lab, she has provided guidance to over 120 students in the art and science of crystal growing.

With limitless dedication, Hanna has promoted crystallographic science and worked to strengthen the organizations that support it throughout the world. This is evident from her long-standing service to the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) and the International Organization for Crystal Growth (IOCG). On the IUCr she served on the Executive Committee (2011-2017) and was elected Vice President in 2017. She was the Chair of the Commission of Crystal Growth and Characterization of Materials (2005-2011), Chair of the Calendar Committee (2013-2017), member of the Finance Committee, representative to the Committee on Space Research (2005-2019), and representative to the ACA Council since 2011. Hanna has been a member of the Executive Committee of the International Organization for Crystal Growth since 2007 and was elected vice President in 2019.

Hanna has provided abundant service to crystallography within International organizations, her work has had a significant impact in the crystal growth community and she has provided invaluable mentorship to many early career scientists.


Fellows of the American Crystallographic Association

Carol Brock | Class of 2020
Stephen K. Burley | Class of 2020
Larry Falvello | Class of 2020
Bruce Foxman | Class of 2020
Marvin Hackert | Class of 2020
James Kaduk | Class of 2020
Lisa Keefe | Class of 2020
Amy Sarjeant | Class of 2020
Hao Wu | Class of 2020
Victor Young | Class of 2020

Craig M. Brown | Class of 2019
Susan K. Byram | Class of 2019
Charles W. Carter, Jr. | Class of 2019
Elspeth F. Garman | Class of 2019
Xiaoping Wang | Class of 2019
Andrew Allen | Class of 2018
James Britten | Class of 2018
Majed Chergui | Class of 2018
Wladek Minor | Class of 2018
Thomas Proffen | Class of 2018
Janet Smith | Class of 2018
Robert VonDreele | Class of 2018
Marilyn Olmstead | Class of 2017
Brian Toby | Class of 2017
Gerard Bricogne | Class of 2016
I. David Brown | Class of 2016
Charles Campana | Class of 2016
Bryan Chakoumakos | Class of 2016
Yu-Sheng Chen | Class of 2016
Frank Fronczek | Class of 2016
Michael James | Class of 2016
Brian Matthews | Class of 2016
Arnold Rheingold | Class of 2016
Zbigniew Dauter | Class of 2015
David Eisenberg | Class of 2015
John Helliwell | Class of 2015
Hakon Hope | Class of 2015
Thomas Koetzle | Class of 2015
Paul Langan | Class of 2015
David Rose | Class of 2015
Eddie Arnold | Class of 2014
Abe Clearfield | Class of 2014
Larry Dahl | Class of 2014
George Phillips | Class of 2014
Ned Seeman | Class of 2014
John Spence | Class of 2014
Ron Stenkamp | Class of 2014
Winnie Wong-Ng | Class of 2014
Sidney Abrahams | Class of 2013
Wim Hol | Class of 2013
Jim Ibers | Class of 2013
Alex McPherson | Class of 2013
Keith Moffat | Class of 2013
Alex Wlodawer | Class of 2013
Donald Caspar | Class of 2012
Dick Marsh | Class of 2012
Virginia Pett | Class of 2012
Jane Richardson | Class of 2012
Thomas Terwilliger | Class of 2012
Helen Berman | Class of 2011
Philip Coppens | Class of 2011
Johann Deisenhofer | Class of 2011
Bill Duax | Class of 2011
Judy Flippen-Anderson | Class of 2011
Jenny Glusker | Class of 2011
Herbert Hauptman | Class of 2011
Wayne Hendrickson | Class of 2011
Carroll Johnson | Class of 2011
Isabella Karle | Class of 2011
Jerry Karle | Class of 2011
Connie Rajnak | Class of 2011
Narasinga Rao | Class of 2011
Michael Rossmann | Class of 2011
George Sheldrick | Class of 2011
B.C. Wang | Class of 2011


Guidelines for Selecting ACA Fellows

As of August 8, 2013. REVISED 05/25/14 / REVISED 8/2019

The ACA Council has established a Fellows program. It serves to recognize a high level of excellence in scientific research, teaching, and professional duties, but also service, leadership, and personal engagement in the ACA and the broader world of crystallography and science. Our Fellows program celebrates the excellence of our own members from within the ACA and promotes their recognition worldwide to constituencies outside of the ACA, such as their employers, other scientific societies, and the government. ACA Fellows serve as scientific ambassadors to the broader scientific community and the general public to advance science education, research, knowledge, interaction, and collaboration. This program allows us to significantly recognize and honor a broader cross-section of the membership than was previously possible with other, more specific awards. We envision that eventually about 5% of the membership will be recognized as Fellows, and the ACA will announce new inductees and honor all ACA Fellows at the annual Awards Banquet.


A Fellow is defined as "a Member whose efforts on behalf of the advancement of crystallography or its applications that are scientifically or socially distinguished." Examples of areas in which nominees may have made significant contributions are research; teaching; technology; services to professional societies; administration in academia, industry, and government; and communicating and interpreting science to the public. Fellows are elected annually by the current group of Fellows.


The procedure for nominating and selecting Fellows is as follows:

  • Candidates for ACA Fellow must be a current ACA member, meaning that the candidate must have paid ACA dues for the year they are nominated.
  • A nomination package must be completed by the nominator, who must also be an current ACA member. In a cover letter, a case should be made for how the proposed Fellow meets the above criteria. A brief CV must also be provided, as well as two letters from at least other current ACA members supporting the nomination.
  • Nominations are due each year by April 1st . All nominations will be collected at ACA Headquarters and distributed to the current Fellows for review. A score sheet shall be provided.
  • Nominations for ACA Fellows shall roll over twice, without any additional submissions from the nominator (i.e., candidates for Fellow who are nominated but not elected in one year will be automatically reviewed during each of the following two years), provided that the candidate remains as current ACA.
  • Current Fellows shall provide a yes/no/abstain vote on each nominee. Fellows will submit their recommendations to ACA Headquarters within 3 weeks of receipt of the nomination packet. For a candidate to be approved as a Fellow, greater than 50% of the votes actually cast for that candidate must be “yes,” AND the number of yes votes must be greater than or equal to 25% of the total number of current Fellows. An abstention does not count as a vote.