Proteomics Technical Lead, MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Cambridge
When was the moment you fell in love with Mass Spectrometry?
I got introduced to the world of mass spectrometry through a MALDI-ToF mass spectrometer which I was using to identify proteins separated by Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, early in my PhD days. I was fascinated by the technology from first time I put my hands on it. I have sat in front of the mass spec hitting each spot with laser manually to acquire the spectra. I remember losing track of time many nights in the cold window-less MS room. Looking back, it must have been the (or one of the) falling-in-love moment(s). Another moment distinct in my memory is the first time I got to resolve an intact 150 kDa monoclonal antibody at baseline resolution to characterize its glycoforms. Over a decade later, I am still carrying around that spectrum as a proud possession.
What is the best thing that could happen to the field of Mass Spectrometry in 5 years?
I dream about a future where there is a mass spectrometer in every diagnostic lab doing clinical proteomics for routine diagnostics and precision medicine. I believe the technology will advance in future to streamline the fit-for-purpose mass spec-based clinical proteomics workflows to reduce the current turnover time, thereby improving the throughput. The merits of mass spectrometry applications will then be transitioned from bench-to-bedside. At the same time, I also wish to see the technology to be much more affordable and user-friendly to enhance its adoption in mainstream healthcare sector.
What has been the proudest moment in your life science career?
I am proud to be a part of this wonderful mass spectrometry community who can claim to have the highest number of Nobel prizes in history, compared to any other technical field in science. I feel it as a privilege that my relatively younger career is solely centered around my passion towards this technology, and I am glad to be in a position where I get to “play” with my mass spec “toys” every day.