Mass spectrometry talks and data science discussions

We spent last week in beautiful Florence enthused in mass spectrometry talks and data science discussions during the XXII International Mass Spectrometry Conference. Now we are back in Nieuwegein full of motivation to try out some of the exciting research in our home lab.

In particular, Andrea was inspired by the advancements in ion spectroscopy and photodissociation that can help in identifying small molecules in cases when the more traditional non-target screening mass spec approaches fail. Jos Oomen, Radboud University and his team use infrared ion spectroscopy to structurally characterize unknown molecules – something Andrea definitely wants to try out soon. Same goes for EIEIO presented by Gerard Hopfgartner, University Geneva, the new AquireX software to get the most of your analysis time from Thermo Scientific and the machine learning approaches for metabolomics data analysis presented by Pierre-Marie Allard, CNRS.

Annemieke’s focus during the meeting was slightly more applied. She was scanning the mass spec landscape for new techniques and methodologies from the environmental, food and petroleum sector that KWR could apply in its water research. Her talk on HILIC mass spectrometry for the analysis of polar micro-pollutants in drinking water and its sources during the workshop “Environmental Mass Spectrometry: from trace analysis to effect assessment” nicely complemented the presentations on effect directed analysis by Marc Suter and Marja Lamoree. Annemieke wrapped up the environmental workshop with a meeting with the organisers as oral presentations and posters are one thing, but conferences truly live from the networking opportunities and philosophical science discussions. It was great to meet up with Jennifer Schollee and members from the EAWAG team, both competitors and friends, as well as Philip Lossl, the structural biology expert gone Nature communications editor.

A Heck-lab alumni evening was spent reminiscing the good times at the forefront of Dutch mass spectrometry in Albert Heck’s lab. Albert was rewarded the Thomson medal which made us both proud to have been part of.

Andrea spent an evening with Liliana Pasa Tolic – a bit of an idol for her, a scientist that tackles top-down proteomics as well as ion mobility of small molecules, Christophe Masselon who characterizes the really big stuff using mass spec: 100MDa viruses! and the Thermo Scientific crew on the roof top terrace of a Grand Hotel in the middle of Florence, view on the red rising moon and the Duomo. Discussing the societal responsibility of scientists with Alexander Makarov, the inventor of the Orbitrap – two of these instruments also stand in our KWR laboratory and where to get the best telemark binding with Vlad Zabrouskov, Director Advanced MS Products.

We are already looking forward to 2022 when the IMSC will be organized by the Dutch Society for Mass Spectrometry, of which Annemieke is a board member, and takes place in Maastricht.


Annemieke Kolkman is giving her presentation.