Faculty member, Graduate Group in Comparative Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley
Senior Scientist, Donner Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Kenneth Downing received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University, worked at the Cell Biology Institute of the ETH in Zurich Switzerland, and then assumed a staff scientist position at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley. From his graduate work on he has been involved in developing and applying technology and methodology for improving the information obtained by electron microscopy, both in biology and materials science. Technical advances have ranged from the development of spot-scan imaging to a decelerator-based CCD camera for intermediate voltage electron microscopes. Much of his recent work has focused on studies of the structure of tubulin and microtubules and their interaction with drugs and other proteins using crystallographic and related approaches using cryo-EM data. This work began with studies that led to solving the structure of tubulin and has continued with work on larger microtubule-based assemblies and small microbial cells using electron tomography. He is also involved with work on the characterization by EM of polymers that may be useful in novel battery and fuel cell designs.