The Berkeley Lab community mourns the loss of Stephen R. Holbrook, who died August 12 at age 68. Holbrook joined the Lab in 1979 as a staff scientist in the Laboratory of Chemical Biodynamics working with Prof. Sung-Hou Kim. He later led his own group in the Physical Biosciences Division, and was an affiliate in the Biosciences Area’s Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology (EGSB) Division. Holbrook’s research interests included the study of nucleic acid crystal structures, protein structures, prediction of novel RNAs, and prediction of protein complexes.
He shared an office with his wife, Libby, a former biochemist at UC Berkeley and current affiliate in Biosciences’ Molecular Biophysics & Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division, and the two collaborated on many of these projects. During his 35-year career, Holbrook was the author of 100 scientific papers and mentored countless undergrads, grad students, technicians, and postdocs. He received the DOE Outstanding Mentor award in 2004 and the Physical Biosciences award for Scientific Excellence by an Underrepresented Division Member in 2005.
Holbrook retired from the Lab in 2012 after being seriously injured in a 2010 fall. He was confined to a wheelchair and dependent on a ventilator for the last 7 years of his life. Despite these challenges, he remained optimistic, always had a big smile, and exuded a true joy for life. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. A memorial service will be held on Nov 4. Information is available at www.diablovalleycremation.com/obituaries/Stephen-Holbrook/.