Christian Altenbach (LabVIEW Champion)

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Name Christian Altenbach
Home Venice, CA
Certification None
Used LabVIEW Since: LabVIEW 4.0, (~1996)
Applications Areas We are doing basic reasearch, mainly EPR spectroscopy and site directed spin labeling to investigate protein structure and molecular structural changes during function. One focus is the light receptor protein Rhodopsin. We have written many peer reviewed publications and reviews.


In 1985, I received my PhD in Biophysics (Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland) and then came to the US as a postdoc. Now, I am part of the research faculty in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute of the University of California, Los Angeles.

In 1996 it became necessary to replace our old Nicolet 1280 computers that controlled the EPR spectrometers with a PC based solution. After attending a LabVIEW product demo, we got LabVIEW 4.0 and a few DAQ cards and I wrote the acquisition program while learning LabVIEW at the same time. Everything immediately worked as designed and these instruments are still controlled by old 120MHz Pentiums running the original applications built under LabVIEW 4.0. They run daily, are rock-stable, and never crash!

My computing background goes back to the early seventies with punch cards and Fortran IV. After becoming familiar with LabVIEW, I immediately saw the inherent power, elegance and beauty of graphical programming. Over the years many LabVIEW programs have been written, ranging from simple post processing, lineshape simulation, time domain processing, network monitoring, publication quality graphics, to complex Levenberg-Marquardt fitting of multicomponent lineshapes with dozens of parameters. I have completely rewritten the Levenberg marquardt routines to allow global fitting of multiple multidimensional data sets and runtime selection of fitting parameters. I use LabVIEW every day for any needed computing task and would never go back to text based programming.

User Groups:

I attend LVUGs regularly in El Segundo and UCLA.

Discussion Groups:

Mostly NI discussion Forums. I am also a member of OpenG and LAVA.


  1. Christian Altenbach, K. -J. Oh, R. Trabanino, K. Hideg and W. Hubbell. Estimation of inter-residue distances in spin labeled proteins at physiological temperatures: experimental strategies and practical limitations. Biochemistry. 2001 40:15471-15482.
  2. Christian Altenbach, Wojciech Froncisz, Roy Hemker, Hassane Mchaourab and Wayne L. Hubbell. Accessibility of Nitroxide Side Chains: Absolute Heisenberg exchange Rates from Power Saturation EPR. Biophys J. 2005 (in press).

See also