London Biological MS Discussion Group Student Speaker Prize 2016

Since 2015, the SSG and the London Biological Mass Spectrometry Discussion Group (LBMSDG) have awarded an annual prize of £400 for the best student presentation at one of the LBMSDG’s quarterly meetings.  The award is to be spent on expenses related to travel and accommodation costs at a conference of the student’s choosing. The award-winner is selected at the end of each year, when the LBMSDG committee reviews the presentations from each of the meetings.

This year, the committee reviewed student talks presented at LBMSDG symposia over the course of 2016, and at the group’s spring meeting on the 23rd of March 2017, awarded the prize to Dr Heidi Gastall, who is currently a research scientist at UCB Celltech (UK). Dr Gastall’s presentation described her doctoral research on small heat shock protein 27 (HSP27), which protects the cell under stress by interacting with partially folded protein substrates, and which is implicated in a wide range of diseases from Parkinson’s to cancer. In particular, the talk focused on her use of native MS and ion-mobility MS to probe the conformational dynamics of the protein’s core domain, and the influence of disease-related mutations on structural features related to the regulation of the protein’s protective response. A more detailed description of her work can be found here.

Dr Gastall used the prize money to attend the first International Conference on Hydrogen Deuterium Exchange MS at AstraZeneca in Sweden, and says that ‘the conference gave a very helpful overview of how the technique is applied by different practitioners in the community and technical advice on how to use it to its full potential’.

Congratulations Dr Gastall for an excellent and informative talk! Here she is receiving her award from Dr Karin Barnouin, the LBMSDG chair-person, at the spring meeting.

of Karin Barnouin, LBMSDG chairperson (left) and Heidi Gastall (right)