ISCB Names 2004 Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award Winner, Dr. David Lipman

The International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) has named the second winner of its annual Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award, Dr. David Lipman, director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

"Over the course of his distinguished career, Dr. Lipman contributed to several of the most important tools used in the analysis of gene sequence data, and managed the growth of many of the most essential public scientific databases. His vision and leadership of the NIH's National Center for Biotechnology Information has not only altered the course of computational biology, but of science as a whole," said Larry Hunter of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, chair of the ISCB award committee.

The Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award recognizes members of the computational biology community who are more than 12 to 15 years post-degree and have made major contributions to the field of computational biology through research, education, service, or a combination of the three.

The prize will be awarded at the ISCB's annual meeting, Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) to be held in conjunction with the European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB), in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 31 to August 4. Dr. Lipman will deliver the annual Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award keynote lecture at 14:00 on August 4 at ISMB/ECCB.

Dr. Lipman’s first research efforts in computational biology began after his medical training at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Subsequently, he joined the Mathematical Research Branch of the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases as a Research Fellow. In his research on computational methods, he developed widely used tools for searching biological sequence databases.

Dr. Lipman’s search method papers have been cited nearly 40,000 times and are considered landmarks that have served as the basis for the discovery of biological functions for unknown sequences, furthering the understanding of the molecular basis of human disease. Among his scientific contributions are some of the canonical software of computational biology. This includes the Wilbur-Lipman algorithm, written in 1983 and considered to be the first "rapid search tool" for molecular biology databases and which was used for the PDGF/v-sis homology; FASTP, a biological sequence comparison program for searching protein and DNA, written in 1985 with William Pearson; FASTA also written with Pearson in 1988; BLAST, written with several colleagues in 1990; and BLAST2 and PSIBLAST, written with several colleagues in 1997.

Since 1989, Dr. Lipman has been the Director of the NCBI, a leading research center in computational biology, the creators of PubMed, one of the most heavily used sites in the world for the search and retrieval of biomedical information. He still remains active in research, most recently publishing a paper comparing mRNAs in eukaryotes in Nucleic Acids Research. He has received numerous awards in his career, including three Public Health Service Outstanding Service Medals and the National Institutes of Health Director’s Award. He is also a member of a number of prestigious associations including the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) was established in 1988 as a division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), based at the United States’ National Institutes of Health. NCBI creates automated systems for storing and analyzing knowledge about molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics; facilitates the use of such databases and software by the research community; coordinates efforts to gather biotechnology information; and performs research into advanced methods of computer based information processing for analyzing the structure and function of biologically important molecules.