Apr. 14, 2013

The Aaron Klug Integrated Centre for Biomolecular Structure and Function was dedicated on Thursday in the presence of British Nobel Laureate Prof. Klug’s family and H.E. British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould. It will become part of the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev (NIBN) at BGU.

“The Klug Integrated Center for Biomolecular Structure and Function (KICBS) will be a center of excellence for structural biology studies and thus a focal attraction for scientists in Israel and around the world,” says Prof. Varda Shoshan-Barmatz, director of the NIBN who worked tirelessly to create the new center.

It is named after Nobel laureate Prof. Sir Aaron Klug, O.M. F.R.S., an outstanding structural biologist who pioneered the crystallography of biological assemblies and was the founder of three-dimensional electron microscopy. Sir Aaron contributed substantially to the development of BGU, and he is a member and former Director of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK.

“I was blessed to work closely with Prof. Klug for many years. His leadership determined the direction and progress at NIBN. Moreover, he has made a major contribution to the entire culture of research at BGU,” said Prof. Moti Herskowitz, VP and Dean of R&D at BGU.

Prof. Raymond A Dwek, CBE, FRS, of Oxford University introduced Gould and noted that both Gould and Klug had expressed publicly the same values of scientific collaboration and academic freedom.

Gould explained why he was delighted to be at this dedication. “Any ambassador would be delighted to pay tribute to Prof. Klug and to be at an event that sets in stone the link between Britain and Israel.

“It is a particular pleasure to be here for three reasons. First, the opening of the center ties together two of my favorite universities – BGU, where I got a doctorate without working for it [Gould received an honorary doctorate from BGU in December] and Cambridge University and specifically Peterhouse, which is Prof. Klug’s college and where I studied. Trinity College, which is also Prof. Klug’s, is where my wife studied.

“Second, it is a celebration of the relationship between Britain and Israel in science. Both are scientific superpowers with complementary strengths. Third, it pays tribute to Prof. Klug. He is universally known as kind, fair and decent. He is a world class scientist without the ego to match. He has shown us what science can achieve and should be doing – to unlock Nature’s secrets to provide pathways to healing.”

Klug was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the interactions of proteins with nucleic acids and on the elucidation of the structures of large biological molecules and assemblies, including simple viruses and chromatin, by X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy, as well as for the development of new methods for their study. The basic principle of his method of 3-D image reconstruction in electron microscopy from a series of 2-D tilted images later formed the basis of the CT scanner.

He has been involved in the creation of the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev from the outset, and has remained continuously involved in its growth and development, having served as Acting Executive Director for two years.

The Centre will create a unique environment to facilitate state-of-the-art research in structural biology by providing both the intellectual framework and the physical and organizational infrastructure required for performing high-level interdisciplinary research that combines various structural biology approaches ranging from atomic to cellular resolution. For example, the interdisciplinary concept will help elucidate the atomic structure of proteins which could lead to better inhibitors, among many other research avenues.


Prof. Raymond A Dwek, CBE, FRS, of Oxford University introduces Ambassador Gould. 


H.E. British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould addresses the audience during the dedication of the Aaron Klug Integrated Centre for Biomolecular Structure and Function.  


Prof. Varda Shoshan-Barmatz, Director of the NIBN at the dedication.