Cutting edge of mass spectroscopy topic of lecture

Alan Marshall, the world’s foremost authority on high performance mass spectrometry, will give the 2006 Abelson Lecture on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 4 p.m. in Todd 276.

Marshall, who co-invented the Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer, is director of the Ion Cyclotron Resonance Program at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Fla. and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Florida State University.

His lecture, titled “Accurate Mass Measurement: Taking Full Analytical Advantage of Nature’s Isotopic Complexity,” will discuss Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry, which offers 10 to 100 times higher mass resolving power than other mass analyzers.  A reception will follow.

Mass spectrometry is currently having a widespread impact in nearly all fields of research, perhaps greater than any other single analytical technique. An increasing number of mass spectrometry applications require more accurate mass measurements than the “nominal” mass accuracy that is typically available in university research laboratories.

According to Marshall, high mass resolving power offers two major advantages. “First, it becomes possible to separate complex mixtures without prior chromatographic or gel separation. Second, elemental composition may be determined from accurate mass measurement alone for unknown molecules,” he said.

The techniques pioneered by Marshall are advancing these capabilities to larger, more complicated molecules and helping to solve a wide variety of challenging problems. Marshall will use examples from environmental, petrochemical, analytical and biological (especially proteomics) problems, including some world records for mass resolution.

Marshall earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Northwestern University in 1965 and a doctorate in physical chemistry from Stanford University in 1970. He served on the faculty at the University of British Columbia, Ohio State University and Florida State University. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Physical Society and is the current president of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

Marshall was awarded the Distinguished Contribution Award from the ASMS, the Thomson Medal from the International Mass Spectrometry Society, and the Field-Franklin Award in Mass Spectrometry from the American Chemical Society. In 2004, the International Journal of Mass Spectrometry published an issue in his honor. He is a frequent invited speaker at mass spectrometry and chemistry conferences around the world and serves on the editorial board of several top spectrometry journals.

The Abelson Family Lecture was created by 1960 WSU physics alumnus John Abelson, who is the George Beadle Professor Emeritus of Biology at the California Institute of Technology, and his wife Christine Guthrie, who is an American Cancer Society Professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Abelson is president of the Agouron Institute, a charitable foundation. The couple created the lectureship in honor of members of his family who are WSU alumni and among the nation’s leading scientists and engineers.

The 2006 Abelson Lecture is presented by the department of Chemistry in the College of Sciences.