The Canadian Society for Chemistry recently awarded the 2014 W.A. E. McBryde Medal for Analytical Chemistry to Dr. Lars Konermann, a Canada Research Chair in biophysical protein mass spectrometry from the Department of Chemistry, in recognition of his significant achievements in the field.
Konermann’s fascination with protein mass spectrometry developed during a post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia. He didn’t really know what to expect in terms of research outcomes and viewed his research as the beginning of a great adventure. Konermann proceeded to contributed to the birth of biological mass spectrometry in the mid 90’s. Applying mass spectrometry to structural biological research questions allowed for the exploration of protein structure, function, binding, interaction and even disease states.
More recently, the Konermann lab began to disentangle the chemical process involved in electrospray ionization, which brings protein molecules in solution into the gas phase. By combining experiments and computer simulations, Konermann attempted to shed light on novel questions including the extent to which salt and protein interactions affect the electrospray ionization process. According to the award-winning researcher, “understanding this process will allow us to design better experiments. And, if we want to better understand the resulting data, we must also grasp the fundamental basis of the technique used to generate it.”
This is the second award received by Konermann in the last decade recognizing his contribution in analytical chemistry. A true innovator, Konermann's last comment on the subject,- “Now it’s time to come up with the next big thing!”