Professor Evan R. Williams, University of California, Berkeley, has been awarded the 2014 Frank H. Field and Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry
for his ‘development of mass spectrometric methods for molecular structural analysis and their application to fundamental problems in chemistry and biochemistry.’ The award, sponsored by Waters Corporation, was presented at the 247th ACS National Meeting held March 16-20, 2014 in Dallas.
Prof. Williams received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Virginia in 1984, followed by a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry in 1990 from Cornell University, where he worked with Fred McLafferty. He then carried out postdoctoral work with Richard N. Zare at Stanford University prior to joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in 1992 as an assistant professor of chemistry. He was promoted to associate professor of chemistry and biophysics in 1997 and to full professor in 2001. He also serves as Associate Director of the Center for Analytical Biotechnology, as Faculty Director of the QB3/Chemistry Mass Spectrometry Center, and holds a joint appointment in the Earth Sciences Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Throughout his career, Prof. Williams has received numerous awards and honors, including the Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh Award in 1992, an American Society for Mass Spectrometry Research Award in 1994, and an Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award in 1999. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012. He has also served on numerous advisory boards, including the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (2001–2007), and is currently an Associate Editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Analyst. He was Vice-Chair and Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Gaseous Ions in 2011 and 2013, and served from 2011-2013 as Member-at-Large for Publications on the Board of Directors of the ASMS.
The focus of the Williams’ research group is the development and application of novel instrumental and computational techniques in mass spectrometry, tandem mass spectrometry, separations, and laser spectroscopy to solve problems of fundamental interest in chemistry and biochemistry. Current projects are focused on i) elucidating the structures, functions, and dynamics of biomolecules and their macromolecular complexes with emphasis on protein sequencing, conformational elucidation, and protein-protein interactions, ii) understanding ion solvation, how water organizes around different ions and how water affects molecular structure and intermolecular interactions in size-selected trapped nanodrops using spectroscopy and ion-electron recombination experiments and iii) developing new instrumentation to analyze complex mixtures, including the contents of cells, using microfabricated devices coupled with mass spectrometry, and probes for rapid chemical analysis of surfaces with high sensitivity. A number of different types of state-of-the-art mass spectrometers and lasers are used in these studies, including unique instrumentation built at Berkeley. To date, this work has resulted in the authorship or co-authoring of 200 papers and 3 U.S. Patents, and over 200 invited lectures. He also develops new experiments and curricula for both undergraduate and graduate chemistry courses with an emphasis on state-of-the-art analytical measurement science.