A two day meeting was held December 14th and 15th at the University of Manchester, UK, to celebrate the scientific research career of Professor Simon J. Gaskell, President and Principal, and Professor of Biological Chemistry, at Queen Mary College of London. Organized by Professor Perdita Barran (Chair of Mass Spectrometry and Director of the Michael Barber Centre for Collaborative Mass Spectrometry at the University of Manchester), the symposium was attended by many of Professor Gaskell’s former students, post docs and colleagues, as well as mass spectrometrists and gas-phase ion chemists from around the world.
Professor Gaskell received his BSc degree in 1971 and a PhD in chemistry in 1974 from the University of Bristol, then carried out post doctoral research at the University of Glasgow, prior to starting his research career in 1977 as Principal Research Officer and Head of Mass Spectrometry Unit in the Tenovus Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Wales College of Medicine. From 1987 – 1993, he was Professor of Experimental Medicine in the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston USA, and Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Chemistry at the University of Houston. He was then appointed as Professor of Mass Spectrometry in the Michael Barber Centre for Mass Spectrometry at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST, now the University of Manchester), where he was also Head of Chemistry from 1999-2002. Following the merger of UMIST and the Victoria University of Manchester in 2004, he served from 2004-2006 as Associate Vice President for Research, and as Vice President for Research from 2006-2009. He then joined Queen Mary University of London in October 2009.
In a scientific career spanning 40 years, Professor Gaskell’s research involved the development and application of state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and related analytical techniques, with applications in the biomedical sciences. He is particularly recognized for his work in developing, along with Professor Vicki Wysocki (Ohio State University), the concept of the ‘mobile proton’ model that has been widely used to rationalize the gas-phase collision induced dissociation behavior of protonated peptides and proteins. In 2009, to recognize the significance of this research, Professor Gaskell was jointly awarded, along with Professor Wysocki, the ASMS Award for a Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry. Professor Gaskell served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (1990-1999), and was a member of the Editorial Board from 2009 – 2014.
Professor Simon Gaskell, Professor Perdita Barran and Professor Graham Cooks (Purdue University) at the Gaskell symposium dinner held at the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester.