Abbas Ourmazd

Distinguished Professor
 (414) 229-2610
 KEN 3075



Ourmazd develops advanced algorithms to reconstruct the three-dimensional structure of non-stationary objects from random, ultra-low-signal sightings of unknown orientation. Applications range from single biomolecules and viruses to non-stationary macroscopic objects such as breathing lungs and beating hearts. More generally, his techniques offer novel search algorithms for furtive signals in a sea of noise.

Biographical Sketch

Abbas Ourmazd earned his BA and his PhD in Physics from the University of Oxford in 1976 and 1979, respectively. From 1980 to 1983 he was a Fellow and Member of the Governing Body at Merton College (UK) and an Oxford Lecturer at Corpus Christi College, Oxford (UK). From 1983 to 1984 he held an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship at Göttingen University (Germany). During the following years Ourmazd worked at Bell Laboratories where his positions included head of Microphysics Research and head of Wireless Strategy. Then he went back to Germany to work as Director of IHP National Laboratory, followed by Chairman of Lesswire AG and CEO of Communicant Semiconductor Technologies AG. From 1995 to 2005 he was Professor and Chair at Brandenburg Technical University.

During the last fifteen years Ourmazd has been Chair of several Committees and Boards, including the Materials Review Board at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the American Physical Society Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics and the American Physical Society Committee on Applications of Physics. He has been an advisor for US National Renewable Energy Laboratories and for the German Minister of Economic Affairs and Technology. During twelve years Ourmazd was a member of the Editorial Board of Semiconductor Science and Technology.

Professor Ourmazd came to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005 as Vice-chancellor for research and Dean of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Graduate School. At present he holds the rank of Distinguished Professor and he is a member of the Committee on International Scientific Affairs, American Physical Society. As a result of his research, Ourmazd has received ten patents.

Selected Publications

Ourmazd, Abbas. “Machine-learning Routes to Dynamics, Thermodynamics, and Work Cycles of Biological Nanomachines.” X-ray Free Electron Lasers. Ed. Bergmann, Uwe. Royal Society of Chemistry, .
Munke, Anna, Schwander, Peter, Ourmazd, Abbas, and . “Coherent diffraction of single Rice Dwarf virus particles using hard X-rays at the Linac Coherent Light Source.” Nature – Scientific Data. (2016).
Pande, Kanupriya, Hutchinson, Christopher D., Groenhof, Gerrit, Aquilla, Andy, Robinson, Joe S., Tenboer, Jason, Basu, Shibom, DePonte, Daniel D., Liang, Meng, White, Thomas, Zatsepin, Nadia A., Yefanov, Oleksandr, Morozov, Dimitry, Oberthuer, Dominik, Gati, Cornelius, Subramanian, Ganesh, James, Daniel, Zhao, Yun, Koralek, Jacob, Brayshaw, Jennifer, Kupitz, Christopher, Conrad, Chelsie, Roy-Showdhuri, Shatabdi, Coe, Jesse D., Metz, Markus, Xavier, Poulray L., Grant, Thomas E., Koglin, Jason E., Ketawala, Gihan, Fromme, Raimund, Srajer, Vukica, Henning, Robert, Spence, John C., Ourmazd, Abbas, Schwander, Peter, Weierstall, Uwe, Frank, Matthias, Fromme, Petra, Barty, Anton, Chapman, Henry N., Moffat, Keith, van Thor, Jasper J., and Schmidt, Marius. “Femtosecond Structural Dynamics Drives the Trans/Cis Isomerization in Photoactive Yellow Protein.” Science 352. (2016): 725-729.
Fung, Russell, Hanna, Ataya M., Vendrell, Oriol, Ramakrishna, S, Seideman, Tamar, Santra, Robin, and Ourmazd, Abbas. “Dynamics from Noisy Data with Extrement Timing Uncertainty.” Nature 532. (2016): 471.
Ourmazd, Abbas. “Preface for Special Issue on Biology with X-ray Lasers.” American Institute of Physics, Structural Dynamics 2. (2015): 041501.
Hosseinizadeh, Ahmad, Dashti, Ali, Schwander, Peter, Fung, Russell, and Ourmazd, Abbas. “Single-particle structure determination by X-ray free-electron lasers: Possibilities and challenges.” STRUCTURAL DYNAMICS. (2015).
Dashti, A, Schwander, Peter, Langlois, R, Fung, R, Li, W, Hosseinizadeh, A, Liao, H Y., Pallesen, J, Sharma, G, Stupina, V A., Simon, A E., Dinman, J D., Frank, J, and Ourmazd, Abbas. “Trajectories of the ribosome as a Brownian nanomachine.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111.49 (2014): 17492-7.
Tenboer, Jason, Basu, Shibom, Zatsepin, Nadia, Pande, Kanupriya, Milathianaki, Despina, Frank, Matthias, Hunter, Mark, Boutet, Sebastien, Williams, Garth, Koglin, Jason E., Oberthuer, Dominik, Heymann, Michael, Kupitz, Chris, Conrad, Chelsie, Coe, Jesse, Roy-Chowdhury, Shatabti, Weierstall, Uwe, James, Dan, Wang, Dingjie, Grant, Tom, Barty, Anton, Yefanov, Oleksandr, Scales, Jennifer, Gati, Cornelius, Seuring, Carolin, Srajer, Vukica, Henning, Robert, Schwander, Peter, Fromme, Raimund, Ourmazd, Abbas, Moffat, Keith, Van Thor, Jasper J., Spence, John C., Fromme, Petra, Chapman, Henry, and Schmidt, Marius. “Time Resolved Serial Crystallography Captures High Resolution Intermediates of Photoactive Yellow Protein.” Science 346.6214 (2014).
Schwander, Peter, Fung, Russell, and Ourmazd, Abbas. “Conformations of Macromolecules and their Complexes from Heterogeneous Datasets.” Phil Trans Roy Soc B 369.20130567 (2014).
Schwander, Peter, Giannakis, Dimitrios, Yoon, Chong-Hong, and Ourmazd, Abbas. “Symmetries of Image Formation II. Applications.” Optics Express 20.12 (2012): 12827-12849.
Giannakis, Dimitrios, Schwander, Peter, and Ourmazd, Abbas. “Symmetries of Image Formation I. Theoretical Framework.” Optics Express 20.12 (2012): 12799-12826.
Ourmazd, Abbas. “A Next Generation Light Source: A Transformative Tool for Energy Science.” Prepared for the US Dept. of Energy. Ed. Schoenlein, Robert. (2011).
Ourmazd, Abbas, Schwander, Peter, Fung, Russell, and Phillips, Jr., George N. “Mapping the conformations of biological assemblies.” New Journal of Physics 12.035007 New Journal of Physics, (2010).
Ourmazd, Abbas, Schwander, Peter, and Phillips Jr., G. N. “Structure from random snapshots.” Proc. SPIE7800 780002. (2010).
Ourmazd, Abbas, Fung, Russell, Shneerson, Valentin, and Saldin, Dilano K. “Structure by Fleeting Illumination of Faint Spinning Objects in Flight.” Nature Physics 5. (2009): 64-67.