ASMS 2021 Plenary Session: John B. Fenn and Al Yergey Awards


In today’s afternoon plenary session, the 2021 Al Yergey MS Scientist awards will be presented, and the 2021 winner of the John B. Fenn Award for Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry will give his award lecture.

The John B. Fenn Award

Peter B. Armentrout the Henry Eyring Presidential Endowed Chair of Chemistry at the University of Utah is this year’s recipient of the John B. Fenn Award for Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry.

Armentrout is receiving this award for the development of robust experimental and statistical techniques for the determination of accurate thermochemistry. He developed the guided ion beam threshold dissociation approach to provide insights into the thermochemistry, kinetics, and dynamics of simple and complex chemical reactions. In addition, he developed a suite of software programs for statistically modeling the energy dependence of product formation for most reactive processes. He shared both the instrumentation designs and the software with laboratories around the world to enable the greater scientific community to study thermochemical processes. These developments have allowed nearly 2500 distinct bond energies to be measured during his career. The impact of these fundamental measurements has been felt over many fields, including catalysis, biochemistry, surface chemistry, organometallic chemistry, and plasma chemistry.

The ASMS Award for Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry is named to honor the memory of John B. Fenn who shared the 2002 Nobel Prize for the development of electrospray Ionization. Fenn joined ASMS in 1986 and remained an active member until his passing in 2010. The award in his name recognizes a focused or singular achievement in fundamental or applied mass spectrometry in contrast to awards that recognize lifetime achievement.

The Al Yergey Mass Spectrometry Scientist Awards

The Al Yergey Mass Spectrometry Scientist Awards will be presented to two recipients this year: Mark Kushnir and Arpad Somogyi.

Kushnir is the scientific director for mass spectrometry (MS) research and development at the Associated Regional and University Pathologists (ARUP) Institute for Clinical and Experimental Pathology (Salt Lake City, Utah). He spearheaded the adoption of tandem MS by ARUP Laboratories and has done exemplary work on developing mass-spectrometry–based clinical assays to be used for patient care, including using desalting columns to purify unbound molecules from plasma samples, leading to a clinical assay for 25-hydroxyvitamin D. He has published more than 100 papers and also been involved with discovery projects and scientific collaborations with many researchers. Kushnir also has mentored countless people, including R&D colleagues, clinical chemistry fellows, and pathology residents. He is an editorial board member for many publications and is a regular reviewer for clinical chemistry and analytical chemistry journals and organizations.

Somogyi is an associate director of the Master of Science in project management (MS&P) facility at The Ohio State University. He has been involved in key research areas including instrument design related to surface-induced dissociation (SID), small molecule analysis by Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) MS, the study of fragmentation mechanisms of protonated peptides, and the structural investigation of proteins and protein substrate interactions. He has authored more than 125 scientific publications. Somogyi has mentored countless graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. He served as an instructor at an ASMS 2-day short course for 10 years. He also contributes to multiple OSU credit courses and regularly reviews for journals in areas of fundamental topics.

The Al Yergey Mass Spectrometry Scientist Award is sponsored by ASMS to recognize the dedication and significant contributions to mass spectrometry-based science by “unsung heroes.” This award is named in memory of Al Yergey a well-respected scientist who served 45 years at the National Institutes of Health where he was known as a dedicated mentor. 2018 marked the 50th year of Al's ASMS membership. Past winners include Rachel Ogorzalek Loo (2020) and Jeffrey Shabanowitz (2019).

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