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30th Informal Meeting on Mass Spectrometry

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Topic: Science  |  Series: My Journey to PhD
Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci byla pořadatelem 30th IMMS.During four days at the turn of April (29th Apr - 2nd May 2012) the 30th Informal Meeting on Mass Spectrometry took place in Olomouc. The organizing university for this year was the Palacky's University in Olomouc (Czech Republic).

Informal Meeting on Mass Spectrometry (IMMS) was the first international conference I have actively participated on. I represented our Department of Analytical Chemistry together with my colleague Hanka Vlčková. The boss of our "Mass commando" (Assoc. Prof. Lucie Nováková) is at the moment in Brussels, that's why she couldn't participate on this year's IMMS.

The conference was opened on Sunday afternoon with a lecture of Prof. František Tureček. It was aimed at screening of enzymatic depletion in newborn kids. Massive Multiplexing of Tandem Mass Spectrometry Assays for the Early Detection of Lysosomal Storage Disorders by Newborn Screening. The idea was quite simple (as most of the brilliant things are...). For the screening dried blood spots were used. The professor's research group synthesized substrates for the particular enzymes. On MS were determined the MS/MS spectra of ions created from the products of the enzymatic reaction. The quantification was based on Selected reaction monitoring (SRM). The whole method was set up so no ion overlapping occurred, as it was used for determination of several enzymes together. If no enzyme was present, neither the product ions were detected and vice-versa. Moreover a quantification was made, thus measuring the activity of the enzyme.

I got caught by the first lecture and it made me enthusiastic about the whole conference being ahead. However, we skipped the first Monday's lecture and used the time to hang up our posters. I brought the following topic to IMMS: Development of methodology for determination of tetracyclines in environmental waters using tandem mass spectrometry coupled with UHPLC and using mixed-mode stationary phase. Hanka presented her favorite statins and different sample pretreatment in their analysis.

The start-up lecture of Frank Tureček was so overwhelming, that all the others were somehow overshadowed. Moreover, the mass spectrometry is a very complex instrument with many different fields of applications and it is very difficult to embrace all of them. Thus, a lot of following lectures were a good summary of MS research. Some of the presentations were tough for me to fully understand e.g. theory of fragmentation pathways or formation of clusters and measuring their energies. The proteomics fitted a way much better to main brain. :-) A very interesting lecture was given by professor Roman Zubarev from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm: Proteomics study of Alzheimer's disease mechanism. I owe a note, that even though I got lost in some, I listened to all lectures very carefully and paid a lot of attention to them, never being bored.

The second block of lectures on Wednesday was devoted to the coupling of MS with chromatographic separation. My highlight of that day was a contribution of professor Michal Holčapek. He and his group lead the research in lipidomis, searching for markers of cardiovascular diseases in different blood fractions. They use a broad range of techniques, comprising GC and LC and 2D separations. Comprehensive LC/MS approach for non-targeted lipidomic clinical studies.

To wrap-up the conference personally: I made a complex overview of the mass-spec applications and got attracted by many of presented topics. Moreover, it tuned me for conferences that are coming up later on this year.

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