CASA Day in Analytical Sciences: Measurements Matter!
Including inaugural lecture of Prof. Garry Corthals: The proteome - it's life, but not as we know it.
At the Centre for Analytical Sciences (CASA) Friday 11 December was a memorable day. Professsor Garry Corthals held his inaugural lecture, preceeded by the Analytical Sciences Seminar titled 'Measurements Matter', with an emphasis on proteomics.
As the first year of CASA drew to a close, CASA members came together to discuss the future of analytical sciences in Amsterdam. Spui 25 was filled with members from CASA and beyond including guests from abroad who joined to celebrate the inaugural lecture of Prof. Garry Corthals (UvA).
The day commenced at Spui 25 with an introduction to CASA by Prof. Govert Somen (VU) who highlighted the importance of joining the analytical groups of the two Amsterdam universities in CASA in the interest of becoming stronger together. The Dean of the faculty of sciences at both the UvA and the VU, Prof. Karen Maex, followed on from Prof. Somsen’s introduction supporting the joining of the two analytical groups.
Close ties with industry
While CASA has an academic foundation it is supported by its close ties with industry. This by virtue of the importance of analytical chemistry in various industries ranging from food science through to forensics. Prof. Hans-Gerd Janssen (UvA-Unilever) brought this to attention in his usual charismatic fashion, making for a light-hearted yet informative presentation.
He discussed the challenges facing analytical chemists in industry including the need for fast analysis. The theme of industry-academia collaboration was strengthened further by Dr Oscar van de Brink who discussed the vision of COAST (COmprehensive Analytical Science and Technology) on analytical science in a public-private setting
One of the strong points of CASA is that it encourages the growth of young analytical chemists. Three emerging leaders in analytical chemistry from CASA presented their research view for the future. Dr Michelle Camenzuli (SNS fellow - UvA) discussed her dual approach to improving our ability to analyze intact proteins. This approach consists of improving chromatography technology for faster, more efficient analysis in combination with developing techniques for faster, more robust development and optimization of top-down proteomics workflows considering both liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry parameters.
The theme of top-down proteomics was continued by Dr Andrea Gargano (VENI fellow - UvA/VU). Dr Gargano recently became the first member of the UvA analytical chemistry group to be awarded a VENI for his vision for the future of top-down proteomics. Dr Gargano is combining his expertise in multidimensional separations and monolithic column technology to increase the speed and resolution of top-down proteomics workflows.
A different approach to the challenge of intact protein separations was presented by Dr Rob Haselberg (WADA fellow-VU). Dr Haselberg discussed his current research which is a collaboration between the VU and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). His approach focuses on using capillary electrophoresis; which is known to be a very powerful separation technique for proteins.
After hearing from our emerging leaders, we were privileged to have a guest presentation from Prof. David R. Goodlett, University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA. Prof. Goodlett is a well-known thought leader in proteomics and presented his view on the role and history of mass spectrometry in the life sciences. Given that analytical chemistry in Amsterdam has only very recently extended its reach into life sciences, it was great to get a tutorial-like introduction into the progress of mass spectrometry over the recent years.
Proteomics in society
The day came to a close with the main event: the inaugural lecture of Prof. Garry Corthals (UvA). Prof. Corthals joined the Analytical Chemistry group at the UvA in 2014, establishing within it the new Biomolecular Systems Analytics group. This new group focuses on the development and application of new analytical technologies and methods for proteomics investigations with clinical applications.
Prof. Corthals’ lecture took on more of a “world-view” outlook on the role of proteomics in society, the role of analytical chemistry within proteomics and the exciting dynamics of starting a research group in a new country. The latter topic is something younger chemists rarely hear about and was particularly valuable to the younger members of CASA.
Written by Dr Michelle Camenzuli, assistant professor at the Analytical Chemistry Research Group of the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences.