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
The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) was established in 2010 by the 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 sciences, mathematics and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS-Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.