Carl-Ivar Brändén (1934-2004)

Carl-Ivar Brändén died on 28th April 2004, aged nearly 70 after a lifetime in protein crystallography. His Ph.D. and early research years were spent working on the crystallography of inorganic complexes in the chemistry department at Uppsala University, but he soon heard about protein crystallography and came as a young postdoctoral fellow to the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology for one year from 1962 to 1963. He worked with John Kendrew and Herman Watson on the structure of myoglobin and wrote one of the very first computer programs for protein structure refinement. The structure of myoglobin, the first high resolution protein structure, had been revealed at a resolution of 2.0 Angstroms in 1959, but only approximate coordinates were available in 1962.

Carl returned in 1963 to Uppsala where he started work on the structure of alcohol dehydrogenase. His first Ph.D. student, Eila Cedergren-Zeppezauer obtained crystals and the structure was solved about 10 years later. Carl went on to solve many other structures and wrote a superbly illustrated book “An Introduction to Protein Structure” with John Tooze in 1991, with a second edition in 1998.

More details of his many contributions are described in a number of obituaries published in the months after he died.