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Nuno Bandeira has won the 2021 Biemann Medal from the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.
The Biemann Medal is awarded to an individual early in his or her career in recognition of significant achievement in basic or applied mass spectrometry. The Biemann Medal was established by contributions from students, postdoctoral associates, and friends to honor Professor Klaus Biemann.
Bandeira is an associate professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California at San Diego. He is receiving the medal for his significant contributions to the development of spectral alignment to connect the world’s mass spectrometry data (MS), work that is leading to the development of a data-driven Google-type search engine for MS data.
Bandeira realized that similar to the alignment of protein sequences, unidentified tandem MS (MS/MS) spectra can be aligned for the identification of modified and unmodified variants of the same peptide. It can also be applied to small molecules to identify drug-related metabolites or analogs. To improve the efficiency of searching these data repositories, Bandeira created the foundation of a Google search network by precomputing the large-scale network of all available MS/MS data in the “MassIVE” public mass spectrometry data repository. The master spectral network can now be searched using data instead of text. These molecular networks have been used in hundreds of papers and have been key to understanding mechanisms of metabolic exchange and charting the molecular diversity in human food and habitats, across kingdoms and many microbial species.