June 19, 2014

Caprioli honored for mass spectrometry contributions

Richard Caprioli
Richard Caprioli, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt University’s Richard Caprioli, Ph.D., has received the 2014 Award for a Distinguished Contribution to Mass Spectrometry from the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS).

Caprioli, the Stanford Moore Professor of Biochemistry and director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center at Vanderbilt, was honored for development of Imaging Mass Spectrometry (IMS) using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI)  and “its application to molecular mapping in biology and medicine.”

MALDI IMS was pioneered by Caprioli and colleagues in the late 1990s to visualize proteins, lipids and other molecules in cells and tissues. The introduction of this technology, essentially a “molecular microscope,” helps reveal the function of these molecules and how function is changed by diseases like cancer.

“Use of this type of molecular microscope enables investigators to directly measure molecules in tissue and cells without the use of surrogate markers such as antibodies,” said Caprioli, the first Vanderbilt scientist to win the prestigious award since it was established in 1990.

“It is a powerful means of discovery because one does not need to know in advance what compounds may have changed,” he said. “It measures native molecular distributions, providing new biological insights that easily correlate with other imaging modalities.”

Caprioli received the award June 16 at the ASMS annual convention in Baltimore.