Emeritus RCSB PDB Leadership

For more than 25 years Prof. John D. Westbrook (1957 - 2021) supported Rutgers, RCSB PDB, and millions of data users worldwide with his vision and passion for innovative databases, ontologies, and other technologies for management of complex biological data. As Data & Software Architect Lead of the RCSB PDB, John was central to the design and development of infrastructure and services to acquire, curate, archive, and deliver 3D macromolecular structure data to the broad community of PDB users. His work also established the PDBx/mmCIF data dictionary and format as the foundation of the modern Protein Data Bank (PDB) archive.


John D. Westbrook Jr (1957–2021) Acta Cryst (2021) D77: 1475-1476 doi: 10.1107/S2059798321011402.

American Crystallographic Association's History Portal


  • RCSB Protein Data Bank: Celebrating 50 years of the PDB with new tools for understanding and visualizing biological macromolecules in 3D (2022). Protein Science 31: 187-208 doi: 10.1002/pro.4213
  • Collecting Experiments. Making Big Data Biology. Helliwell, J. R. (2022). J. Appl. Cryst. 55: 211-214 doi: 10.1107/S1600576721012140
  • PDBx/mmCIF Ecosystem: Foundational Semantic Tools for Structural Biology (2022). Journal of Molecular Biology 434: 167599 doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2022.167599
  • RCSB Protein Data Bank: improved annotation, search and visualization of membrane protein structures archived in the PDB (2022) Bioinformatics 38: 1452-1454 doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btab813

Prof. Philip E. Bourne, Associate Director from 1998-2013, provided direction for the site at UCSD, with a focus on database development, literature integration, and visualization tools.  In 2014, Bourne became Associate Director for Data Science at the NIH.

From 1998-2005, Dr. Gary L. Gilliland led the RCSB PDB at CARB/NIST, focusing on the uniformity of PDB archive, archiving legacy materials, and physical distribution of the archive. Gilliland became the Director of Structural Biology at Janssen Research & Development.

Dr. Peter Rose, Site Head

Dr. Andreas Prlić, Technical & Scientific Team Lead

Cole H. Christie, Site Manager

Information about the history of the PDB archive and the RCSB PDB is available in the About Us section; resources celebrating the 2022 anniversary of 50 Years of the Protein Data Bank Archive (PDB50); and past RCSB PDB publications.