Albert J.R. Heck, Professor of Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics at Utrecht University, has been selected as the recipient of the American Chemical Society 2016 Frank H. Field and Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievements in Mass Spectrometry. The award, sponsored by Waters Corporation, will be presented at the 251st meeting of the American Chemical Society held in San Diego, California, March 13-17, 2016. Professor Heck received the award in recognition of his outstanding work in the field of protein mass spectrometry, and his role in the development of enabling technologies for both proteomics and structural biology.
Prof. Heck has been at Utrecht University for the past 17 years and acts as scientific director of the Netherlands Proteomics Center since 2003. He earned his B.Sc. degree in Chemistry at the Free University in Amsterdam in 1986, then a M.Sc. degree in 1988 and Ph.D. in 1993 from the University of Amsterdam, where he worked under the supervision of Nico M.M. Nibbering. He then carried out post-doctoral research at the Hahn Meitner Institute in Berlin, Germany, at Stanford University with Prof. Richard Zare (1993-1994) and at the Sandia National Laboratories with Dr. David Chandler (1994-1995). In 1996, he was appointed as a senior fellow and later as a lecturer in physical chemistry and mass spectrometry at the University of Warwick, working closely with Prof. Peter Derrick. Prof. Heck is an elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and Arts (KNAW) and the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and has received numerous awards including the HUPO Discovery Award in Proteomics in 2013 and the Pioneer in Proteomics Award of EuPA in 2014. He serves as Associate Editor for the journals Protein Science and Molecular Biosystems, and is on the Editorial Boards of numerous analytical chemistry, mass spectrometry, proteomics and protein science journals. He was co-organizer of the recent 31st ASMS Asilomar Conference on the topic ‘Native Mass Spectrometry-based Structural Biology’, held October 16-20, 2015.
Research in the Heck group focuses on the development and applications of advanced mass spectrometry based technologies for proteomics and structural biology. Heck has pioneered the development of a range of novel methods for proteomics applications, including new enrichment strategies for phosphopeptides, new proteases for digestion and new (hybrid) peptide fragmentation techniques. The topics in his proteomics research encompass stem cell biology, cancer and immunology. The Heck group is also known for its specific expertise in the mass spectrometric analysis of intact proteins and protein complexes, including the development of unique and dedicated instruments. His research in native mass spectrometry focuses on virus assembly, therapeutic antibodies, transcription complexes, and CRISPR related protein assemblies. To date, he has published more than 350 papers in internationally reviewed journals.