September 12, 2003

Caprioli receives mass spectrometry honor

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Anne Rayner

Caprioli receives mass spectrometry honor

Richard Caprioli, Ph.D., Stanley Cohen Professor of Biochemistry, professor of Chemistry and Pharmacology and director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center, was awarded the Thomson Medal by the International Mass Spectrometry Society (IMSS) Sept. 2 at the society’s triennial conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Thomson Medals are awarded for outstanding achievements in mass spectrometry and for distinguished service to international mass spectrometry.

“[The Thomson medal] acknowledges a lifetime contribution to the field [of mass spectrometry],” said Caprioli. “It’s an honor to receive this medal.”

The governing committee of IMSS selects three researchers to be awarded the Thomson Medal at each conference. The Thomson medal is named in honor of J.J. Thomson, the British physicist who discovered the electron and developed the first mass spectrometer.

Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique that manipulates molecules that carry an electrical charge. Because mass spectrometry can provide information about a particular compound, such as its molecular weight and various structural details, mass spectrometry is widely used in chemical and biochemical research, particularly in the area of protein analysis.

In awarding Caprioli the Thomson Medal, the IMSS acknowledged his pioneering work in applying mass spectrometric methodology to biochemical problems. The society stated, “Caprioli has been one of the people most responsible for the revolution of mass spectrometry in biochemistry.”

Current research in Caprioli’s laboratory involves expanding the medical uses of mass spectrometry.

Caprioli and collaborators are using mass spectrometry to characterize the protein profile of healthy and diseased tissue.

Differences identified in this manner may one day allow physicians to “use molecular markers [in the form of proteins] to help diagnose disease, follow treatment of the patient, and assess potential health risks to individuals,” explained Caprioli.