On May 11, 2018, Isabel Rojas (1968-2013) would have turned fifty years old. In 1999, she joined the newly founded EML (the predecessor institute of HITS), where she established the Scientific Databases and Visualization (SDBV) research group. A doctor in computer science, she designed the scientific reaction kinetics database SABIO-RK, which is used worldwide today. Together with her group, she developed solutions for the analysis of vast volumes of data in the life sciences. Through her interdisciplinary approach, Isabel Rojas contributed significantly to the long-term strategy of HITS and its predecessor institutions. For her services, she was the first scientist of the institute to receive the “HITS Fellow” award.
Beginning in 2008, Isabel Rojas shared the leadership of the SDBV group with her deputy, Wolfgang Müller, who went on to lead the team on his own one year later. Despite her serious illness, she continued to help the group through her advice and support. During this time, she also contributed to a publication that continues to influence the work of the group today.
HITS views Isabel Rojas’s fiftieth birthday as an opportunity to commemorate her as an internationally recognized scholar, a researcher who always searched for the link between disciplines, an inspirational musician and singer who enriched many a celebration at HITS, and an optimistic, humorous woman – in short, a wonderful person.
Dr. Gesa Schönberger, Managing Director
Prof. Dr. Michael Strube, Scientific Director
Dr. Wolfgang Müller, SDBV group leader and Deputy Scientific Director
HITS, the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, was established in 2010 by physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural, mathematical, and computer sciences. Major research directions include complex simulations across scales, making sense of data, and enabling science via computational research. Application areas range from molecular biology to astrophysics. An essential characteristic of the Institute is interdisciplinarity, implemented in numerous cross-group and cross-disciplinary projects. The base funding of HITS is provided by the Klaus Tschira Foundation.