In the first week of June, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to San Diego to the Annual Conference for the American Society of Mass Spectrometry (ASMS), with the rest of Professor Michael Marty’s lab. ASMS was my first scientific conference, let alone a national one. I didn’t really anticipate the size of the conference, with over 8000 in attendance and 3400 posters presented. Every day was packed from 8:00am with morning oral presentations, to 9:00pm where companies like Thermo Fischer Scientific, Bruker and Shimadzu hosted hospitality suites (lots of free food!).
Due to the number of posters, four hours were allotted each day for poster presentations. It was impressive to see; ASMS developed an app that categorized each poster and had an interactive map so I was able to map out all of the interesting posters I wanted to learn more about. I interacted with so many incredible scientific minds and heard much information. There are applications for Mass Spectrometry that I really didn’t even know existed. Some presentations discussed Top-Down proteomics, some with shotgun-method metabolomics, and many others were about small molecule drug discovery; the possibilities for MS to be applied are endless. I was happy, as there was a whole presentation session dedicated Native Mass Spectrometry, which is studying molecules in their most native setting and is what my lab specializes in.
My time spent presenting was an incredible learning experience. I had the opportunity to network with individuals from the East Coast as well as the UK about how nanodiscs, a lipid-bilayer mimetic, are being manipulated to study integral membrane proteins. These proteins are key as they are the target of about one third of drugs, but since they are natively integrated into lipid-bilayers, they are difficult to study. By creating this mimetic, my lab has aspirations that we can shed light on these proteins and advance science’s understanding. Our research is fairly new, so I was extremely honored to present it at a conference of this caliber and to see that the scientific community is excited about our work!