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ASMS Postdoctoral Career Development Awards: 'Where are they now'?

04/11/2018 18:59:19

Since 2014, the ASMS has annually presented up to five Postdoctoral Career Development Awards. The purpose of these awards is to promote the professional career development of postdoctoral fellows in the field of mass spectrometry. In this month’s issue of the journal, we are pleased to introduce a “Where are they now” Q&A feature, highlighting the variety of activities that these awards have enabled for the recipients, and their current (and future) career trajectories. Look for additional A&A's from other award recipients in the coming months.

 

Huilin  Li (2014 awardee)Huilin Li (Awardee)

What professional career development activities did you pursue using the funds received from your award?
The ASMS postdoctoral award was a great supporting resource to develop my professional skills towards becoming an independent researcher. I used the funds to explore other MS platforms and methods for the characterization of protein complexes, visit domestic and international research labs, and attend conferences (domestic, international) to present my work, and to network. Overall, I visited Waters Corporation in the UK to gain experience in ion mobility MS, and the Brodbelt lab at UT Austin to explore the performance of UVPD on protein complexes in comparison to electron ionization dissociation techniques. I also attended 5 international conferences, visited 5 research institutes, and established several collaboration projects. As a result, I gave 8 public talks (4 conference talks and 4 invited seminars), and published 4 papers as first author (two in Analytical Chemistry and one each in JASMS and Nature Chemistry; two as co-corresponding author) and 3 papers as second-author.

Where are you now? i.e., have you moved to another institution or position since receiving the award? If so, what is your new role?
I left the Loo lab at UCLA in early 2016 to join the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC) in France as postdoc. At UCLA, I had a great opportunity to go deep in developing the native top-down MS technique for protien complex studies, but I also felt my limitations on structural biology strongly. So my one-year position at IGBMC was a great complementary experience. I had the opportunity to work with structural biologists of different backgrounds, to see their struggles, and to gain more perspective on how to tackle their problems using mass spectrometry. Currently, I am a professor at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.

What are your current research interests?
My current research interests focus on the development and application of advanced MS techniques to address biological questions. Particular topics include: (1) the development of chemical tags for cross-linking, enhancing top-down sequencing, etc., (2) the development of integrated structural MS techniques for the structural characterization of macromolecular protein complexes, and (3) Top-down proteomics.

Where do you see yourself (career wise) in 3-5 years?
I just started my new position at the Sen Yat-Sen University in December 2017. So far, I have recruited one postdoc and one Ph.D. student who will join the group this summer. Although I expect it will take a year and a half to two years to have the lab up and running, I have projects planned for different stages, with those that are less instrument-demanding to begin with. I anticipate that my group will get productive in 3 years. By year 5, I see my group becoming one of the leading groups in the structural MS and top-down MS fields.

 

Hao Zhang (2014 awardee) Hao Zhang (2014 awardee)

What professional career development activities did you pursue using the funds received from your award?
The funds provided a unique opportunity to expand areas of my professional development that were not supported by other funds. I attended conferees like the Symposium on the Practical Applications of Mass Spectrometry in the Biotechnology Industry, and the International Symposium on Higher Order Structure of Protein Therapeutics. I interacted with biotechnology industry researchers and applied what I learned into my research. The funds also provided extra activities and resources for my career development in membrane protein biology, protein higher order structures as well as scientific communication skills.

Where are you now? i.e., have you moved to another institution or position since receiving the award? If so, what is your new role?
Two years after I received the award, I changed my career direction and took a position in the biotechnology industry. I am currently at Amgen Inc. in Cambridge, MA. My new roll is Process Development Scientist in Pivotal Attribute Sciences. 

What are your current research interests?
My current research interest is to apply new mass spectrometry
based technologies, developed by academic researchers, into the product characterization of state-of-art bio therapeutics.

Where do you see yourself (career wise) in 3-5 years?
I am excited to witness the development of many technologies from academic research and their important applications in the biotechnology industry. I will continue to contribute my efforts to apply those great technologies in bio-therapeutics characterization.

 

Martin Payne (2015 awardee) 

Martin Payne (2015 awardee)

What professional career development activities did you pursue using the funds received from your award?
The award allowed me to travel and carry out research at the Maastricht Multimodal Molecular Imaging Institute (M4I) in the Netherlands over a 2 month period, and to establish a collaborative project with my postdoc lab at Georgia Institute of Technology. This was a great experience for me as I gained a lot of valuable knowledge from the imaging experts at M4I, provide me with  with hands-on experience with their suite of instruments, and broadened my professional network.

Where are you now? i.e., have you moved to another institution or position since receiving the award? If so, what is your new role?
Thanks to the award, my visit culminated in an offer of employment within the M4I as a Senior Scientists, which I accepted and have been employed for the past 18 months. My role consists mainly of initiating new collaborative research projects, particularly with the Surgery Department at the Maastricht University Medical Center and the MERLN Institute of Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine, both located in very close proximity to our Institute which is fantastic for conducting new and exciting biomedical research with mass spectrometry.

What are your current research interests?
My current research interests include developing advanced mass spectrometry techniques for lipid, metabolite, and drug imaging - mainly through developments in instrumentation. Currently we are working on coupling MALDI imaging with a post-ionization laser (MALDI-2) for various applications and developing novel on-line, ion-molecule reaction imaging modalities.

Where do you see yourself (career wise) in 3-5 years?
That's a tough question for me. I've always been lured towards pursuing the most interesting research available to me at the time without looking too far into the future. I could see myself making a change and moving away from academia and into an industry position, possibly becoming involved in one of the many spin-off companies emerging from the research here at M4I or one of the large MS vendors. But if you asked my family they would hope I would be starting to make the move back to Australia and closer to home.