Earlier this month our team attended the American Society of Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) 2023 conference in Houston, TX, and it was exciting to see the world of mass spectrometry back with a vengeance.
Immersing ourselves in the world of our friends, clients and colleagues is always rewarding. Let's dive into some of our key takeaways.
Hot topics on the ASMS agenda included continued focus on core technologies, such as top-down proteomics, and a spotlight on imaging, single cell omics, immunopeptidomics, and lipidomics. There was a growing interest towards the technology in application, including food safety and environmental pollutants. Exposomics and PFAS were hot topics, as well as the potential for AI and ML in lab data management. Ion mobility continues to be a big theme and there was emerging interest in the commercialization of charge detection MS finally becoming reality.
As ever, the big launches for MS technology take place at ASMS, here are some of the highlights:
- Bruker launched the latest timsTOF Ultra technology and CaptiveSpray Ultra ion source to enable groundbreaking omics research. The combination delivers unparalleled sensitivity for low-abundance peptide detection to push the boundaries of research in single cell proteomics, immunopeptidomics, and plasma proteomics. Bruker’s new Applied Mass Spectrometry division presented its chromatography-free MS solutions for applications that need fast and reliable analyses, including forensics, food safety and environmental testing.
- Waters introduced several upgrades and enhancements to existing systems including boosted core performance, enabling three times faster acquisition speed. It also introduced the Resolution Enhancement Mode (REM), which doubles the large path length of their multi-reflecting TOF tunnel by pulsing the ions back through the path before hitting the analyser, greatly increasing the resolution of the device. This doubles the effective flight path of the system and therefore fundamentally improves the underlying performance in terms of the mass resolving power.
- Agilent Technologies introduced the fourth generation of its 6495 liquid chromatography (LC) triple quad devices, which increases sensitivity and speed, as well as an announcement for a new workflow for PFAS, which allows for their improved detection, and the Revident LC/QTOF that is targeted for food safety and environmental applications such as pesticide identification.
- Thermo Fisher Scientific introduced the Orbitrap Astral, a three-part system that combines quadrupole, Orbitrap and TOF analysers for flexible analysis options with improved performance and high throughput. While the new system is targeted at proteomics, Thermo Fisher sees opportunities in metabolomics, small molecules, and PFAS and new contaminants, with new collaborations in these application areas.
- MOBILion Systems highlighted new applications for its high-resolution ion mobility commercial product, MOBIE, and new product concepts based on the Structures for Lossless Ion Manipulation (SLIM) platform technology. It presented data on analysis of PFAS; identification of lipidomics; analysing biopharma analytes; characterization of glycoproteins and N-glycosylation; and uncovering intact proteins.
- TrueMass generated excitement around the potential of charge detection mass spectrometry (CDMS) in cell and gene therapy (CGT) to accelerate rare disease drug development.
- SCIEX introduced the Intabio ZT system, incorporating imaged capillary isoelectric focusing, a method of isolating charged variants in a sample that are detected using ultraviolet (UV) light. A major application of the system is charge heterogeneity analysis.
Posters presenting ground-breaking research were presented at the conference – search #asms2023 to see some of the proud presenters and the conversations on the breadth of subjects.
The stand-out ASMS organization, which includes the conference, hospitality suites and vendor meetings puts a strong focus on breakfast meetings, where cross-vendor meetings can take place. ASMS is a great community for sharing and cross-collaboration and our team was keen to attend some of the active breakfast meetings held in Houston.
Females in MS (FEMS)
As a woman-led business, The Scott Partnership is always keen to support women in science. So we call out especially to FEMS, the global initiative group of females in MS that offers a support network, mentoring and collaboration. In our experience, the women mass spectrometrists we meet are some of the most active in science, and we want to spotlight this group for all their initiatives.
Best hospitality suites
The hospitability suites are great for meeting some of the leading vendors and seeing their latest technology. Each year vendors redecorate the ballrooms of the chosen hotel to host their press conferences and meetings by day – and welcome members of ASMS to events and parties by night.
The SCIEX virtual reality experience really pushed the envelope this year, showcasing the potential of accelerated drug development in a Houston-themed journey through space and helped you identify your MS mindset.
Now to the fun. The more than 8000 attendees at ASMS are always keen to mine out the giveaways and our team is no exception. The crowds around the release of Thermo Fisher, Shimadzu, Agilent and Peak Stetsons, Shimadzu RNA plushies and VICI Teddy-the-therapy-dog-themed games had to be seen to be believed – not to mention the packed MOBILion casino – at one of the best attended ASMS conventions we’ve seen. An especial mention to our Head of PR, Alison Owen, now proud owner of three light-up Stetsons and Account Manager, Hannah Steele, who brought home a very sought after MOBILion plushie!
Attending ASMS always provides a glimpse into the future of innovation and discovery in science and ASMS 2023 was no exception. It was inspiring, challenging, and full of potential.
We can't wait to play our part in helping innovative organisations bring their stories and products to market and make their meaningful science matter.
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