Review of the 66th Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics

July 1, 2018
Cindy Delonas
Special Issues

Volume 37, Issue 7

Page Number: 30–31

Our annual review of the ASMS national conference. This year’s event was held June 3–7 in San Diego, California.

The 66th Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics was held at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. This year's conference, like last year, featured two parallel tracks of tutorial lectures that took place on Sunday.


Tutorial Session I began with a talk by M. Arthur Moseley of Duke University School of Medicine (Durham, North Carolina) titled "Strategies for Quantitative Proteomics." Following Moseley's talk, Susan D. Richardson of the University of South Carolina (Columbia, South Carolina) gave a presentation titled "Mass Spectrometry and the Environment."

The first talk in Tutorial Session II was given by Gregory Eiden of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, Washington). It was titled "Mass Spectrometry and Nuclear Forensics." Jack Beauchamp of the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, California) followed Eiden, presenting "From the Laboratory to the Stars."

Later on Sunday, the ASMS Vice President for Programs, John A. Yost, welcomed attendees to a plenary session that began with a talk from Lisa Shipley, the vice president of Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, and Drug Metabolism, at Merck. Her talk was titled "Smart Trials: Moving from Site-centric to Patient-centric Clinical Trials."

Monday Sessions and Award Presentation

Eight oral sessions took place Monday morning: "Fundamentals for Everyone: Quantitation," "Imaging: Pharmaceuticals, Metabolites, and Lipids," "MS in the QC Lab," "GC/MS, GC–GC/MS, GC–MS/MS, and GC/HRMS," "Nucleic Acids and Oligonucleotides," "Native MS in Structural Biology," "Informatics: Innovations," and "Energy, Petroleum, and Biofuels: Instrumentation and Applications."

The eight Monday afternoon sessions that followed included "Instrumentation: Innovative Separations Approaches Coupled to MS," "Imaging: Biomedical Applications," "Drug Target Identification by MS," "Top Down Protein Analysis," "Carbohydrates," "Protein-Ligand Interactions," "Informatics: Determination of Elemental Composition," and "Fundamentals: Photoionization and Photodissociation."

The John B. Fenn Award for a Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry was presented to Gert von Helden, Martin F. Jarrold, and David E. Clemmer on Monday evening. The award has been renamed to honor the memory of John B. Fenn, who shared the 2002 Nobel Prize for the development of electrospray ionization. Fenn was a member of ASMS from 1986 until his passing in 2010.

Von Helden is Group Leader at the Department of Molecular Physics, Fritz-Haber Institut der Max Planck-Gesellschaft (Berlin, Germany), and professor at the Radboud University, Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. He made a major development in ion-mobility spectrometry (IMS) when he applied it to the self-assembly of carbon in plasmas and showed that carbon structurally evolved from linear chains to rings to fullerenes.

Jarrold went on to develop the first high-resolution instrument and a more accurate method (the trajectory method) for obtaining collision cross-sections from complex structures such as biomolecules. While these fundamental developments were taking place, Clemmer realized that these new IMS methods could be used for analytical applications, and developed a new "nested" IMS–MS technology, which used ion trapping methods to dramatically increase signal-to-noise ratio and post-IMS dissociation to obtain fragmentation patterns of isomers (or conformers) in a single experiment.

Tuesday Sessions and Award Presentations

On Tuesday, the eight morning sessions included "Fundamentals for Everyone: Peptides and Proteins (In Memory of Jack Throck Watson)," "Ion Mobility: New Developments & Applications," "Applications of Stable Isotope Labeling in MS," "Metabolomics: New Technologies and Applications," "Innovations and Applications in Forensics," "Plant 'omics'," "MS in the Field," and "Synthetic Polymers."

Eight Tuesday afternoon sessions included "Instrumentation: Ambient Ionization: Instrumentation & Applications," "Ion Mobility: Small Molecules and Clinical," "Analytical Challenges of Microdosing and Microsampling Studies," "Metabolomics: Untargeted Profiling," "Environmental: Emerging Contaminants," "Innovations in Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange MS," "Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Post-translational Modifications," and "Fundamentals: Ion-Ion and Ion-Neutral Interactions."

Later on Tuesday, the Biemann Medal was presented to Benjamin A. Garcia for his contributions to elucidation of the "histone code," the set of post-translational modifications (PTMs) to histone proteins that are thought to regulate gene expression. Garcia has pioneered high-throughput "bottom-up" proteomic methods for detection of histone PTMs and quantitative comparison of multiple cellular states, and "middle down" proteomic approaches that enable computation of specific combinatorial histone proteoforms. He is the presidential professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

Also on Tuesday, Research Awards were presented to Michael T. Marty of the University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona), and James S. Prell of Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon). Marty's award was sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Prell's award was sponsored by Waters Corporation.

Wednesday Sessions

Wednesday morning oral sessions included "Instrumentation: Mass Analyzer Innovations," "Ion Mobility: Structure," "Quantitative Analysis in Drug Discovery and Development," "Quantitative Analysis in Drug Discovery and Development," "MS in Clinical Analysis," "Exposomics," "Macromolecular Complexes," "Infomatics: Peptide and Protein Identification, Proteomics," and "Fundamentals: Ion Spectroscopy (In Memory of Rob Dunbar)."

In the afternoon, Wednesday's sessions included "Instrumentation: Innovations in FT-based Mass Analyzers," "Microorganisms and the Microbiome," "MS in Extractable and Leachable Analysis," "Quantitative Proteomics in Systems Biology," "Environmental: Innovative Approaches and Instrumentation," "Covalent Labeling and Chemical Crosslinking," "Informatics: Metabolomics," and "Fundamentals: Ion Activation and Dissociation."

Thursday Sessions and Award Presentation

On Thursday, morning sessions included "Instrumentation: Ion Detection, "Imaging: Instrumentation & Method Development," "Food Safety & Chemistry: Innovations," "Biomarkers: Qualitative Analysis," "Lipidomics: Lipids and Profiling," "Glycopeptides and Glycoproteins," "Informatics: Data-Independent Acquisition: Innovative Methods and Applications," and "Membrane Protein MS."

Thursday afternoon, sessions included "Instrumentation: New Developments in Ionization and Sampling," "Imaging: Computational Methods and Analysis," "Food Safety & Chemistry: Foodomics, Allergens, Bacteria, Foods," "Therapeutic Proteins, Antibodies, and Antibody/Drug Conjugates," "Lipodomics: New MS Technologies and Applications," "Biomarkers: Quantitative Analysis," "Multiomics Integration and Applications," and "Computational Methods in Ion Mobility and MS."

A plenary session took place later on Thursday. Larry Bowers of LD Bowers, LLC (Southern Pines, North Carolina), and formerly of the US Anti-Doping Agency, gave a talk titled "The Fight Against Doping: From Strychnine to Turinabol."

A closing event Thursday evening took place at the USS Midway Museum, a retired aircraft carrier turned museum, in downtown San Diego.

ASMS 2018

The 67th Annual ASMS Conference will be held June 2–6 in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, visit in the coming months.

Cindy Delonas is the Associate Editor for Spectroscopy and LCGC. Direct correspondence to