2016 3rd NVMS-BMSS conference

The 3rd International Conference on Mass Spectrometry, which was organised by the Dutch and Belgian Society for Mass Spectrometry from 17-19 April 2016 in the abbey of Rolduc (Kerkrade, NL), was attended by over 230 scientists and vendor representatives from Belgium, the Netherlands and abroad.

The Rolduc conference showcased the breadth and depth of innovation in mass spectrometry research being conducted in the Netherlands and Belgium. I was impressed by both the volume and quality of the research, and I certainly am jealous of the opportunities provided by the concentration of such talent in a relatively small geographical area.

Kevin Bateman

Next to 7 keynote lectures, given by a blend of internationally recognised and distinguished scientists, another 33 lectures were given by academics and industrial researchers, highlighting the latest developments and findings. Oral presentation topics included ‘small molecules’ (7), ‘non-mainstream’ (7), ‘large molecules’ (7), ‘new developments’ (4), ‘identification’ (4) and ‘ion mobility MS’ (4). Scientific results and challenges were also presented and discussed at the 100 poster contributions covering a wide variety of topics.

On Sunday the Conference was opened by em. Prof. Dr. Magda Claeys (Univ. Antwerp) who received the honorary membership degree from the Belgian Society for Mass Spectrometry for serving the society for 20 years. In her talk, she presented her work on isoprene and its effects on the atmospheric aerosols. This lecture was followed by a nice overview of Prof. Dr Mario Thevis (Sporthochschule Köln, Germany) on the use and importance of mass spectrometry in sports drug testing. Some nice examples were discussed, where technology was pushed to the limits for truth finding in doping cases.

The Rolduc Mass Spectrometry conference with its excellent lectures on state-of the art topics in mass spectrometry, historic Abbey location, and high level and friendly interactions among the participants should not be missed.

John Yates III

Monday morning Dr. Markus Stoeckli (Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Basel, CH) took us along into the world of mass spectrometric imaging and how this technology is applied in the pharmaceutical industry. Hereafter, 15 PhD students and young post-docs “pitched” their work to attract the audience to their poster and evoke discussions. Hereafter, three parallel sessions were started displaying a wealth of developments and results in different areas of research. On both days lunch and poster sessions were combined to increase interaction and stimulate (scientific) discussions.

At the end of the day, Prof. Dr. Albert Heck was awarded with the NVMS award 2016 for outstanding research. Prof. Heck received this award for the numerous excellent contributions (both in writing as in lectures) to the field of (large molecule) mass spectrometry. Prof. Heck gave, after receipt of this award, a clear and in-depth lecture of recent achievements and current state-of-the-art technology used in the field of biomolecule analysis. The long day ended with a spectacular performance of Dirk Denoyelle detailing the social and behavioural differences between the Belgian and Dutch citizens and learned the audience what the right communication can do for your research.

Fantastic event with both highest scientific standards and picturesque locations.

Mario Thevis

Tuesday was opened by a lecture of Dr. Kevin Bateman (distinguished scientist of Merck, USA) who showed us the progress in and the results obtained when shifting the analytical attention from the quantification of small molecules towards large molecules, e.g. peptide aggregates, antibody-drug conjugates etc. After a second ‘wave’ of poster ‘pitches’ by PhD students, parallel sessions started again, which continued after the combined lunch and poster session. The end of the conference was highlighted by a lecture of Prof. Dr. Ron Heeren (M4I, Maastricht University), on the use of Mass Spectrometry Imaging to bridge the gap between the operating theatre and the mass spectrometer, and Prof. Dr. John Yates III (Scripps Research Institute, LaJolla, USA) who presented work on the pursuit of the mechanism behind cystic fibrosis. The in-depth study on pathways involved the detailed look into PTM’s, protein-protein interactions etc. An amazing story, showing the complexity of mother nature.

At the end of the conference three 1,000 euro prices were given to young scientist for the best flash presentation (Sander Streng, Maastricht University) and best posters (Anne Bruinen, M4I Maastricht University and Sam Tamara, Utrecht University).

Next to these scientific highlights , the conference allowed us to meet up with friends and colleagues, share memories in the bar but also think about new science, possible collaborations and new funding opportunities but also created eye-openers offering possible solutions for research blockades.

In summary a very fruitful event, with lots of joyful feelings.

Thanks to all who made this possible and we hope to see you all soon again.

Jef Rozenski & Rob Vreeken

Chairs of the BSMS & NVMS