Call for applications: 2018 RSC SSG Summer Studentships

It’s December, which means it’s time to make plans for your summer holidays next year – unless of course you’ve got a great summer research project in mind, in which case this post is for you!

We are now accepting applications for the 2018 Separation Science Group Summer Studentships. The proposed project may be conducted at any UK university, or commercial organisation, and may involve any aspect of separation science. Projects should emphasize separation techniques such as chromatography, CE, SPE, ion mobility etc., but may also involve the application of appropriate data analysis strategies, processing tools, and predictive modelling approaches to data obtained from any separation technique. Complete application guidelines and materials are available on our Funding page, and applications should be received by the SSG by 5 pm on March 2nd, 2018. If you’re a student, make sure your prospective supervisor is aware of this opportunity, and if you’re a supervisor, send in your application today!

Prof Peter Myers and the Knox Lecture at HTC-15

As we announced last week, Prof Peter Myers will be the next recipient of the Knox Medal, an award that honours individuals who deserve special recognition for the innovative and influential work in the field of separation science. Prof Myers began his career at Unilever Research (Port Sunlight, UK), but it was as Technical Director at Phase Separations that he revolutionised the field of HPLC stationary phases by showing that porous spherical silica particles could be reproducibly manufactured, classified, bonded and packed by methods still in use today. His work led to the development of Spherisorb, which went on to become the largest selling silica worldwide. His later work as a consultant for Waters directly contributed to the release of the first Alliance HPLCs, as well as the development of the Symmetry range and novel hybrid silicas, and the sub-2 μm silicas for use on the Acquity UPLC systems. Prof Myers’ innovative thinking extended to many areas of analytical measurements, including the design of portable, accurate electronic flow meters for HPLC, wide-ranging studies in microcolumn separations using gas, liquid and supercritical mobile phases, the development of pump-less HPLC wherein flow is driven centrifugally, and more recently, exploring alternatives to silica for stationary phase development.

In addition to his technical expertise and scientific inventiveness, Prof Myers is also a formidable scientific communicator, with over 70 scientific publications and a huge number of lectures and presentations at international conferences and symposia to his credit. To date, at least 32 PhD students have benefited from his supervision and advice, both at the University of Liverpool where he has his own research group and at numerous other universities across the UK. He has worked tirelessly for the separations community, organising the popular Desty Memorial Lecture meetings and generously giving his time and expertise to organising committees at various conferences and scientific interest groups around the world.

The SSG is honoured to add Prof Myers to the list of Knox Medal awardees, and look forward to the presentation of the award and Prof Myer’s Knox Lecture at HTC-15 in Cardiff, in January 2018. Given his unfailing ability to enthuse audiences with new ideas, and his extensive knowledge of all aspects of separation science, we anticipate an enjoyable and memorable Lecture!


Congratulations Prof Peter Myers – our latest Knox Medal winner!

The Knox Medal honours individuals who deserve special recognition for the innovative and influential work in the field of separation science, and since 2010 has been awarded to separation science grandees such as Prof Keith Bartle, Prof Pat Sandra and Prof Peter Schoenmakers. The RSC Separation Science Group are delighted to announce that Prof Peter Myers will be the next recipient of the Knox Medal. The award will be presented to Prof Myers at HTC-15 in Cardiff in January 2018, where he will be giving the plenary Knox Lecture.

Prof Myers is currently a visiting Professor at the University of Liverpool Chemistry Department, with a long and distinguished career in separation science. He has been a leading figure in the development of HPLC, which underpins much of contemporary analytical science, and in the words of Prof Keith Bartle (the previous recipient of the Knox Medal in 2015): “Peter Myers has been at the forefront of HPLC development for over 35 years, and the award of the Knox Medal would be particularly appropriate given that his work in providing the practical means of applying ultra high-resolution HPLC complements exactly that of Prof Knox’s definitive work on HPLC theory.

Congratulations Prof Myers! We’ll be providing more details regarding the award ceremony as well as a summary of Prof Myers’ extraordinarily productive and wide-ranging career in the next few days, so watch this space!



Register today: short courses at HTC-15

Here at HTC-15 HQ, we have been delighted with the quality and number of abstracts we have already received for oral and poster presentations. As October proceeds apace, we are rapidly approaching our deadline for acceptance of oral abstracts (16th Oct) and are  putting the final touches to what promises to be an exciting and informative scientific programme.

One of the best-received events of the last HTC, in 2015, was a short course on SFC that took place a day prior to the start of the main conference. This year, the SSG and its conference partners are pleased to announce two short courses, one on SFC and one on biopharmaceutical analysis, which will take place on the 23rd of January 2018. The day-long courses will be hosted by world-renowned experts in these fields: Dr Caroline West (University of Orleans), Dr Davy Guillarme (University of Geneva) and Dr Claudio Brunelli (Pfizer) will be leading the SFC course, and the biopharm course will be presented by Dr Koen Sandra (Research Institute for Chromatography), Dr Szabolcs Fekete (University of Geneva) and Tony Taylor. The courses have been designed for both absolute beginners and established practitioners, with a focus on both the theoretical aspects of each subject and practical applications that are likely to be of interest to attendees. A full description of each course can be found here and here.  Special registration rates are available for students, and early-bird registration for these courses will be possible till November 1st – so register early to book your place!

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)

Congratulations to our ExTech 2017 SSG poster prize winners!

The 19th International Symposium on Advances in Extraction Technologies (ExTech) took place between the 27th and 30th of June in the historic Spanish city, Santiago de Compostela. This symposium series was started in 1999 by Prof. Janusz Pawliszyn (the University of Waterloo, Canada) and since then has become a unique and vital platform for the exchange of information and ideas in the growing field of sample preparation. The 2017 Symposium featured sessions on fundamental developments and new technologies in extraction and sample preparation relating to different areas of the analytical sciences, with a particular focus on environmental applications, food quality and safety, pharmaceutical and personal care products analysis, bioanalysis and natural product chemistry.

In 2006, the SSG launched a prize for the best poster presented at an ExTech meeting.  This year, the SSG awarded three prizes (£200 each) for the best posters presented by junior scientists. An international committee judged more than 200 high-quality poster presentations, on topics including new extraction techniques, environmental sampling and sample preparation, bioanalytical extractions,and  food and flavour analysis. Three posters were selected for the 2017 SSG award on the basis of their outstanding scientific content and presentation in the poster format:

Congratulations to our prize-winners! And we hope to see many more excellent posters at next year’s ExTech meeting, which will be held in Ames, Iowa (USA) in June 2018. See you there!



Save the date – LBMSDG meeting on September 14th

The London Biological Mass Spectrometry Discussion Group (LBMSDG) will be holding their next meeting on Thursday, September 14th, at the UCL School of Pharmacy’s John Hanbury Lecture Theatre. The meeting (like all their other events) are free to attend. A full agenda for this meeting can be found here, and includes talks by:

  • Prof Shabaz Mohammed (University of Oxford), on proteomics of adult intestinal stem cells and organoids
  • Andrew Davison (Liverpool Clinical Laboratories), on metabolomic evaluation of alkaptonuria using mass spectrometry
  • Dr Faraz Mardakheh (QMUL), on proteomics profiling of interactome dynamics by colocalisation analysis
  • Dr Cyrille Botte (Universite Grenoble Alpes), on membrane biogenesis, lipid synthesis and signaling in apicomplexa parasites

There will also be a student talk by Zainab Ahdash (King’s College London), on studying the mechanism of the hera nura DNA break resection complex using native MS. Don’t miss this  great opportunity to hear about the latest advances in MS and separations science in an informal, enjoyable setting.