Ben Garcia

Professor and Chair Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Washington University School of Medicine
When was the moment you fell in love with Mass Spectrometry?
As an undergrad, I worked in the lab of Carlito Lebrilla at UC Davis. We were performing gas phase ion-molecule reactions on a home-built FT-ICR mass spectrometer. Well, if you have ever worked with home built instruments you know the amount of work it takes to keep them running. I remember early on having to help take it apart many times in a row, as we kept finding out some wires were touching and were grounded. I thought I’d never see a mass spectrum, but that first time a peak appeared on the screen instead of a bunch of noise, I was hooked!
What is the best thing that could happen to the field of Mass Spectrometry in 5 years?
A dedicated NIH study section for mass spectrometry and proteomics. I still don’t understand why we do not have one yet, when genomics specific study sections have been around for a while. I believe having this will allow for better more constructive grant proposal reviews, and could lead to more funding for researchers in the field, which will allow #TeamMassSpec to accelerate discovery and propel innovation to impact!
What has been the proudest moment in your life science career?
Personally being awarded the ASMS Biemann Medal. My entire group was there in the front row, and it just felt like we all won the Biemann Medal that night, which was really the case. I was also the first URM to win this honor, so in a way, I also felt like it was a win for all URMs in the society. It was a very special day.