Pamela J. Bjorkman
  • 1994 Canada Gairdner International Award


American biochemist. David Baltimore Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In 1994, she received the Canada Gairdner International Award for “contributions to our understanding of the immune system by elucidation of the complex formed between MHC class I proteins and peptides derived from foreign antigens.”

Education and Work Experience

1978, B.A. Chemistry, Honors College, University of Oregon
1984, Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Harvard University
1989-Present, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, Division of Biology, Caltech
2019-Present, David Baltimore Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering, Caltech

Honors and Awards

1994, Canada Gairdner International Award
1996, Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Award
2006, L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science, North American Laureate
2019, Ceppellini Award from European Federation for Immunogenetics

Major Academic Achievements

Bjorkman is most well known as a pioneer in the field of x-ray crystallography. Her team use X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, and biochemistry to study pathogen envelope glycoproteins and host immune response proteins. Using structural information and alternate antibody architectures, her team are engineering antibody-based reagents with increased potency and breadth. They are also investigating the structural correlates of broad and potent antibody-mediated neutralization of HIV-1 to better understand what leads to naturally-occurring broad and potent antibodies. In related work, they use 3D imaging techniques such as electron tomography and fluorescent microscopy to investigate HIV/SIV infection in animal and human tissues.