Dr. Heymann graduated from Purdue University in 1995 with a Ph.D. in biochemistry. He returned to Switzerland where he worked as a postdoctoral fellow Andreas Engel on the red blood cell aquaporin in collaboration with Peter Agre (Nobel laureate). At that time, he began development of a software package, Bsoft, for the processing of structural biology data. In 2000, Dr. Heymann joined the NIAMS as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Alasdair Steven in 2000, studying the maturation of the herpes simplex type 1 capsid. After a brief period as a staff scientist at Caltech, he returned to the NIAMS as research fellow and later staff scientist with Alasdair Steven, continuing work on determining the structures of biomolecules and developing Bsoft.

Research Statement

Electron microscopy (EM) offers a method to determine the three-dimensional (3D) structure of biomolecules, large molecular assemblies, organelles and other cellular components. To do so, we integrate two-dimensional (2D) micrographs (images taken by electron microscopy) or parts thereof into 3D volumes using sophisticated computational methods. The Bsoft software package under development will process and interpret microscopy data. Bsoft is freely available and offers a full spectrum of image processing and modeling tools. Research also involves establishing conventions and promoting validation methods in the 3DEM field.

Scientific Publications

Paired octamer rings of retinoschisin suggest a junctional model for cell-cell adhesion in the retina.

Tolun G, Vijayasarathy C, Huang R, Zeng Y, Li Y, Steven AC, Sieving PA, Heymann JB
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
2016 May 10;
doi: 10.1073/pnas.1519048113
PMID: 27114531

Subunit folds and maturation pathway of a dsRNA virus capsid.

Nemecek D, Boura E, Wu W, Cheng N, Plevka P, Qiao J, Mindich L, Heymann JB, Hurley JH, Steven AC
Structure (London, England : 1993).
2013 Aug 6;
doi: 10.1016/j.str.2013.06.007
PMID: 23891288

Computational resources for cryo-electron tomography in Bsoft.

Heymann JB, Cardone G, Winkler DC, Steven AC
Journal of structural biology.
2008 Mar;

Bsoft: image processing and molecular modeling for electron microscopy.

Heymann JB, Belnap DM
Journal of structural biology.
2007 Jan;

Dynamics of herpes simplex virus capsid maturation visualized by time-lapse cryo-electron microscopy.

Heymann JB, Cheng N, Newcomb WW, Trus BL, Brown JC, Steven AC
Nature structural biology.
2003 May;


Purdue University
Ph.D., 1995

University of Pretoria, Pretoria, RSA
M.Sc., 1985–1989

University of Pretoria, Pretoria, RSA
B.Sc. (Hons), 1982

University of Pretoria, Pretoria, RSA
B.Sc., 1981

University of South Africa, Pretoria, RSA
Dipl. Datametrics, 1990


Staff Scientist
Caltech, Pasadena, CA, 2003–2004

Postdoctoral Fellow
NIAMS, 2000–2002

Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Basel, Switzerland, 1996–2000

Postdoctoral Fellow
Purdue University, 1996–1996

Last Updated: June 2020