Obituary: Anna Tramontano

Anna Tramontano, bioinformatics pioneer and EMBL alumna, has passed away

Anna Tramontano worked at EMBL in the late 1980s. PHOTO: EMBL

It is with great sadness we share with you the news that EMBL alumna Anna Tramontano passed away on 10 March 2017 at the age of 59. Anna was a renowned scientist and an essential part of the EMBL community.

Following a postdoc at the University of California, Anna joined EMBL in 1988 as a staff scientist working in Arthur Lesk’s group in Heidelberg. She was part of a team that developed a key method to analyse and predict the structure of a class of molecules, paving the way for the rational redesign of antibodies.

After leaving EMBL Anna returned to her homeland, Italy, to take on the role of Director of the Department of Chemistry and Computational Biology at the Institute of Molecular Biology Research (IRBM) in Pomezia, near Rome. She subsequently became Professor in the Department of Physics at the Sapienza University of Rome.

Throughout her career, Anna was an influential part of the EMBL community. She was a member of the scientific advisory committees of EMBL (2006-11) and EMBL-EBI (2005-2012), where she served as Chair. Anna also made substantial contributions to groundbreaking science initiatives, including the European Research Council and ELIXIR, the pan-European research infrastructure for biological information, supporting both research and training.

Tributes have flooded in from worlds of science, policy and beyond pointing to her intellect, open-mindedness, passion, kindness, energy, great humour and much more besides

Anna received many national and international awards for her contributions to the life sciences. But many remember Anna for much more than just her research. Since her untimely death, tributes have flooded in from worlds of science, policy and beyond pointing to her intellect, open-mindedness, passion, kindness, energy, great humour and much more besides.

EMBL alumni Gennaro Ciliberto, Giulia Piaggio, Valeria Poli wrote: “Anna has been a guide and a role model for many generations of young researchers, known for always combining her passion for science with openness to dialogue – her untimely departure leaves a huge void.” EMBL-EBI’s Janet Thornton said: “Training the next generation of scientists is perhaps Anna’s strongest legacy. She was an exceptional mentor, promoter of young scientists, knew how to bring out the best in everyone and enabled amazing science.”

Anna will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Funds in Anna’s name

For those who wish to contribute, two donation funds have been established in Anna’s name.

Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC)

Set up by her students to support important projects in cancer research. This fund is already in operation.

Student Council Internship Initiative

Set up by the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) to fund travel for disadvantaged students to laboratories. This fund is currently being established.

More tributes to Anna from the EMBL community

A tribute to Anna Tramontano
In remembrance of Anna Tramontano

Tags: bioinformatics, embl-ebi, heidelberg, partnerships


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