Find out what to expect from the world's largest mass spectrometry conference.
With the ASMS 2023 annual conference just around the corner, we spoke with Vice President of Programs, Joseph Loo, to find out more about the valuable work of the organization and what to expect from this year's event.
"The American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS), formed in 1969, promotes and disseminates knowledge of mass spectrometry science and related topics," explains Loo. "The society has a membership of over 7,000 people who hail from academic, industrial, and governmental institutions. ASMS is a non-profit corporation governed by an elected Board of Directors. The Board works in close partnership with Jennifer Watson, ASMS Executive Director."
ASMS' Annual Conference is the world's largest conference focused on mass spectrometry, with an average of over 6,500 attendees. "The Annual Conference is a smorgasbord of activities for the mass spectrometry enthusiast," says Loo. He explains that newer members can learn the fundamentals of an extensive range of topics by enrolling in short courses. Meanwhile, undergraduate students attending the conference are encouraged to participate in a special poster session and competition. There are also tutorial lectures, morning and afternoon oral sessions, evening workshops, and more.
"Our corporate sponsors hold breakfast seminars and evening hospitality suites," adds Loo, "while vendors host exhibit booths in the convention center where information on their newest products are displayed." And the annual conference is not just for learning—it has traditionally been a helpful venue for those seeking employment in the mass spectrometry area.
So what are some of the key themes we can look out for at the 2023 conference? "We're all looking forward to seeing what's the latest and greatest in all areas of mass spectrometry," acknowledges Loo. "Increasing analysis throughput and sample capacity has always been emphasized at the conference, and by all indications, this will continue at this year's event. Central to this theme is on-line separation strategies, both solution phase, for example, chromatographic and electrophoretic, and gas-phase, for example, ion mobility, coupled to mass spectrometry measurements."
Loo expects attendees will learn about new mass spectrometers with increased resolution, dynamic range, and sensitivity. He notes that single ion charge detection is a relatively new technology that offers special advantages for large molecule measurements. "And single cell mass spectrometry (metabolomics, lipidomics, proteomics, and imaging) appears to be growing exponentially. The recent ASMS Asilomar Conference that featured this topic was very popular, and I expect this momentum to continue at the 2023 Annual Conference in Houston." Loo adds that coupled with the improvements in technologies, there will be new applications covering the vast spaces in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, environmental, and clinical arenas.
Looking beyond the conference, what does the future of mass spectrometry hold? "The area that immediately comes to mind is the intersection of computation sciences and mass spectrometry, and all of analytical chemistry for that matter," says Loo. He explains that mass spectrometry can generate massive amounts of data, and computational tools are needed to process this data and convert it to knowledge. "Relatedly, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) is increasingly found in aspects related to mass spectrometry data, similar to today's headlines about AI's impact in society."
Find out more about these and an array of other topics at the 71st ASMS Conference in Houston, Texas, June 2–4.
This article is featured in our June publication, 'The Future of Mass Spectrometry and Allied Technologies.' Download the PDF to discover the latest trends in mass spectrometry, including insights from some of the leading experts in the field.