Isabel Usón Finkenzeller completed a Chemistry degree (1987) and Ph. D. (1992) in synthetic organometallic chemistry at the U. of Zaragoza. In November 1992, she joined Procter & Gamble as Product Research Scientist in Brussels, gaining insight into the science and management of industrial chemistry. She moved as HCM postdoc to the U. of Göttingen in 1994. She has developed methods for crystallography for 23 years, first within the group of Prof. Sheldrick FRS, author of SHELX, during her postdoctoral research and Habilitation (1994-2001) and as of July 2001 leading an emergent group. September 2003, she moved to Barcelona as ICREA Research Professor. Her work on structural chemistry and biology has led to over 165 publications. The software ARCIMBOLDO and SHELX are the central output of her work. She is Life Member of Clare Hall College (U. Cambridge).
It is difficult to think of a field as unbounded by scientific disciplines as crystallography, and it is impossible to encompass all of its influential developments. Recently, electron diffraction and microscopy as well as accurate modelling are joining X-ray crystallography in the atomic resolution scene and we are addressing the opportunities these new techniques offer and rising to their challenges to develop rational, integrated structural methods implemented in our own software ARCIMBOLDO and in SHELX (Sheldrick). Our methods exploit the stereochemical knowledge present in small, local folds to determine and interpret structure within chemical, biomedical and biotechnological research. To extricate experimental information from model bias and data pathologies we propose a change of the validation paradigm (average stereochemistry) into verification (outperform alternative hypotheses) and plan to extend fragment-based algorithms into the field of electron diffraction.