Ivet Bahar has been named director of Stony Brook University’s Louis and Beatrice Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology. Bahar succeeds Ken Dill, distinguished professor of chemistry and physics, who founded the Laufer Center and has directed it for the past 12 years.
Bahar, the Louis and Beatrice Laufer Endowed Chair of Physical and Quantitative Biology, is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology in the Renaissance School of Medicine. She is a structural and computational biologist and an internationally renowned scientist, previously a distinguished professor in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology, the John K. Vries Chair in the Department of Computational Biology, and the founding director of the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Bahar is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has more than 340 publications, and is known for pioneering novel models and methods in structural and computational and molecular biophysics, including the widely used Elastic Network Models for protein dynamics.
“Ivet brings to Stony Brook University her world-class research, decades of scientific leadership at the highest level, and brings exceptional energy and vision to the Laufer Center and Stony Brook University,” said Dill. “We’re exceptionally privileged to have her here.”
The Laufer Center is a hub for research in physical and quantitative biology, advancing biology, biophysics and medicine through basic discoveries in physics, mathematics and computational science. It was established in memory of Louis and Beatrice Laufer by their children, and initiated by a major philanthropic gift from Henry and Marsha Laufer.
Laufer Center researchers come from a broad community including Stony Brook departments of chemistry, physics, applied mathematics and statistics, biomedical engineering, computer science, microbiology and immunology, ecology and evolution, and pharmacological sciences as well as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, with now four core and 16 affiliated faculty across nine departments.
As part of Bahar’s recruitment, the Laufer Center will receive funding from the $75 million Presidential Innovation and Excellence (PIE) Fund. In her December 5 message announcing the PIE investments, Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis said, “In order to increase Stony Brook’s impact and prominence on the world stage, we must prioritize our ability to both attract exceptional faculty and provide critical resources toward their groundbreaking research,” citing Bahar’s appointment as Laufer Center director.