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The 15th International Symposium on Hyphenated Techniques in Chromatography and Separation Technology is being held in Cardiff this January, and there’s still time to register! Students and members of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Chromatographic Society, BMSS and the KVCV can take advantage of special registration rates, details of which can be found on the conference website.

We’re very excited by the quality of the final conference programme – lots of high-quality oral and poster presentations on all aspects of separation science, a well-attended vendor exhibition, fantastic plenary speakers, the Knox Medal Lecture – as well as the outstanding social and networking events planned for the week (a ‘beer degustation’ event for those so inclined, and the gala conference dinner). And of course, we’re looking forward to the three excellent short courses on offer the day before the main conference:

  1. Introduction to Biopharmaceutical Analysis, taught by Dr Koen Sandra (Research Institute of Chromatography), Dr Szabolcs Fekete (University of Geneva) and Tony Taylor (Crawford Scientific)
  2. Supercritical Fluid Chromatography: From Theory to (Industrial) Application, taught by Prof Caroline West (University of Orleans), Dr Davy Guillarme (University of Geneva) and Dr Claudio Brunelli (Pfizer)
  3. Statistical Analysis of Chromatographic Data: A Practical Guide, taught by Dr Gabriel Vivo-Truyols

The day-long short courses are designed for both complete beginners as well as established practitioners, and will be led by topic experts, giving attendees the opportunity to learn from leaders in each field. Given the increasing importance of biopharmaceutical candidates in drug-discovery pipelines, expanding interest in the use of green-chemistry separations techniques like SFC, and the ubiquity (and complexity) of big datasets in the analytical sciences, these courses are all highly relevant to the practicing separations scientist. Registration details for these courses can be found here, with special registration rates for students.

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!

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!

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.

The 15th International Symposium on Hyphenated Techniques in Chromatography and Separation Technology (HTC-15) will take place in Cardiff City Hall from January 24th to the 26th, 2018. This year, the conference is being chaired by the chair of the SSG, Professor John Langley. As in the past, HTC-15 will cover the latest developments in instrumentation and methodology related to such hyphenated techniques, while also presenting sessions devoted to fundamental aspects of separation science. The scientific committee, chaired by Tom Lynch (FRSC, British Petroleum) and Professor Peter Schoenmakers (the University of Amsterdam), has put together an exciting conference programme which includes sessions on:

  • Big data, chemometrics and in-silico method development
  • Biopharma: sample preparation and automation
  • Green Separations
  • Microfluidics and flow-process technology
  • Toxicology/forensics/drugs in sport

and many more topics of interest to the practicing separation scientist. The 3-day conference will consist of three parallel sessions, one of which will be dedicated to the work of early-career researchers (ECRs). Two short courses will be held just prior to the main conference, on supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) and on analytical techniques for biopharmaceutical applications. There will also be a large technical exhibition running alongside the symposium itself, featuring products and demonstrations from companies such as Shimadzu, Markes International, Romil and HiChrom, and social and networking events at the end of each day of the conference.

Early-bird registration and abstract submission for HTC-15 is now open, with special rates for students and members of the RSC, KVCV, ChromSoc and BMSS. Substantial support is also available for early-career researchers, and Great Western Railway has made a number of discounted tickets available to conference attendees travelling to Cardiff Central Station from all main GWR stations. More details regarding the conference programme, plenary speakers, accomodation and sponsorship opportunities can be found at the HTC-15 website, while the attached flyer provides a summary of the same for circulation via institutional email lists, list-serves etc. We look forward to seeing you in Cardiff in 2018!


The 2017 conference on Petroleum, Refining and Environmental Monitoring  Technologies (PEFTEC)   is a focused international conference and exhibition for analytical chemists, scientists, process operators, laboratory personnel and environmental managers who work in around the petroleum, refining, chemical and petrochemical industries. The SSG are proud to be a PEFTEC partner this year, and look forward to the conference which will take place on 29th & 30th of November  in Antwerp, Belgium.

Abstract submission for the conference is now open!

The 2-day conference will be include 4 themed sessions on analytical techniques:

  • The morning session on Day 1 will cover Elemental Analysis and Speciation including trace metal analysis and the speciation of mercury, phosphorus, arsenic and oxygen compounds in a range of petrochemical samples.
  • The afternoon session on Day 1 is dedicated to the latest developments in Mass Spectrometry, and will bring together  leading researchers in this field from academia and industry. covering all the main MS techniques and their application.
  • The Day 2 morning session  will cover Separation Science techniques including GC, HPLC and SFC with a focus around multidimensional and hyphenated systems. GC continues to be the most commonly used chromatographic technique in the industry and the application of multidimensional GC techniques will be covered in the first 2 lectures and then followed by a talk on the application of in silico modelling of GC separations. The remainder of the session will cover the application of SFC and HPLC and their combinations to achieve improved separations.
  • The final afternoon session on Day 2 will cover spectroscopic techniques and on-line analysis. The spectroscopic session will focus on the rapid rise of vacuum ultra-violet spectroscopy (VUV) in the industry. VUV is a selective and sensitive detector for hydrocarbon analysis which in a relatively brief time has been widely accepted by the industry and in combination with GC has recently been approved as an ASTM method for the analysis of finished gasoline (ASTM D8071). The application of thermo-gravimetric analysis coupled with infra-red spectroscopy (TGA-IR) for fouling deposit analysis and the application of comprehensive two dimensional GC for on-line analysis will complete the session and the analytical technique sessions of the conference.


Like other RSC interest groups, the Separation Science Group is supported in its endeavours by an active committee. The members of the committee come from a range of backgrounds, in academia and industry, from across the UK; more information about current members can be found on our Committee page.

In the coming months we will be presenting videos of and interviews with individual members, showcasing their current work and scientific interests. We hope these demonstrate the tremendous diversity of interests and activities contained in the term ‘separation science’, and provide a glimpse into the working lives of scientists in the field.

The current chair, Prof John Langley, leads the Characterisation and Analytics Section at the University of Southampton, and has a long and distinguished career in mass spectrometry and chromatography research. He is also the 2016-2017 British Mass Spectrometry Society Lecturer, and Vice President of the International Mass Spectrometry Foundation. Here, John talks about the use of supercritical fluid chromatograpy (SFC) and mass spectometry (MS) to support the work of chemists at Southampton, and the importance of open-access systems in core research facilities: