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.
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.