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Analytica Awaits

It’s Analytica time! Over the next week, we’ll be sharing our picks from the conference program and reports from the show. Which talks are popping off? A poster you won’t want to miss? A mood in the air? We’ve got our ear to the conference floor – and we’ll be keeping you up to speed with our daily newsletters (which you can sign up to by updating your preferences). For now, we’ve taken a look through the program, and have picked out some “must-see” talks.

Mass spec at Analytica

For the mass spectrometrists, it’s hard to look past Tuesday’s all-day session precision analytics for life science and medicine, chaired by Jennifer Van Eyk and Yue Xuan. It’s split into three parts: advanced technology (9:30–11:30 am), AI and data science (12:30 am–2:30 pm), and unmet needs (3–5 pm). Jennifer gave a great talk on precision medicine at Pittcon, so I’m looking forward to seeing what she and Yue have in store. And I certainly wouldn't recommend leaving early, because proteomics pioneer and Scripps scientist John Yates closes the show at 4:30 pm (ICM / Room 2). 

Then on Wednesday, it’s all about omics. Anne K. Bendt and Guowang Xu are chairing an all-day session metabolomics and lipidomics. Anne is also part of the community-led initiative, Females in Mass Spec (FeMS), and has written about the art of listening, as a mentor, which you can read here. I’d also highlight Evelyn Rampler’s talk (10–10:30 am, ICM / Room 2), on glycolipids “in the spotlight” using novel high-resolution mass spectrometry assays. 

 UK readers may have noticed that the River Thames was in the news last week after rowers were advised not to jump in the water – as is tradition – following the Oxbridge Boat Race, due to sewage levels. It is therefore fitting that Mark Barrow will be giving a talk on his investigations into polycyclic aromatic compound history in a River Thames sediment core using Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry. Last time I heard Mark speak at a conference, the end result was an article on the new methods he had been developing to unravel the most complex mixture of all – petroleum – so let’s hope it’s another good’n!

All about the environment

Speaking of which, there’s a strong environmental focus at Analytica – especially on Wednesday. As Jacob de Boer said recently: “It would be much better if we didn’t have to focus our analytical work on detecting new persistent chemicals in the environment and our food, but so long as we continue to produce them – that’s our job.” Indeed, but there’s an interesting debate over the role of the analytical scientist in helping to define the regulatory agenda around PFAS – which we covered in our recent feature on “The PFAS Problem”. That’s why I won’t be missing Stefan Voorspoels’s talk on “the battle between PFAS legislation and analysis: an update from the Belgian frontline.” 

In addition to developing new methods to monitor environmental contaminants, there’s work analytical science can do to make its own methods and processes more environmentally friendly. Elia Psillakis is a sample preparation and green chemistry expert, and a leading sustainability advocate, so her talk on circular analytical chemistry should be worth attending. 

I was also interested to learn that this year’s Bunsen-Kirchhoff Awardee, Björn Meermann, will be speaking on Thursday about analytical methods for a sustainable transformation of our society. 

Highlighting the impact of analytical science on our planet is one of the three big themes of this year’s Power List, which by the way, is open for nominations (click here to find out more).

Techniques and tools

Earlier this year, we published an article on miniaturized separation technology, the rise of 3D-printing capabilities, and recent advances in microfluidics, which featured Adam Woolley, Rosanne Guijt, and James Grinias. There appears to be quite a bit of innovation taking place in the miniaturized chemical analysis space, so I’m looking forward to hearing Tobias Werres’s thoughts on the development of a modular lab-on-chip platform and how 3D printing serves as a catalyst for innovation in analytical chemistry, on Tuesday. 

Finally, we recently asked our 2023 Power List champions about the most important development in analytical science over the past decade. You are likely familiar with many of the areas highlighted (the Orbitrap, single-cell proteomics, and so on); but what about the “single-molecule-with-a-large-transistor” (SiMoT) platform, developed by Luisa Torsi? Well, according to Marcello Locatelli, SiMoT has been “fundamental for the field.” Keep your eyes peeled for an article with Luisa, which is set to drop in a couple of weeks. For now, why not start the day with Luisa’s talk on Wednesday morning?

For a full list of The Analytical Scientist’s “must-see” talks at Analytica 2024 – including timings and locations – as well as details of Power Listers in attendance and links to additional relevant articles, visit our web hub.

Aprés-Sci

At Analytica 2022, I seem to remember the weather being perfect. If it’s looking good – fingers crossed – why not get away from the hustle and bustle of the show and pay the English Garden a visit? It’s about 30 minutes away on the tram, which you can pick up just outside the conference center. Yes, as an Englishman, I may be biased – but it does host a Greek temple, a Chinese pagoda, and a Japanese tea house. While you’re there, you could head over to Call Soul – an award winning bar. And about a 30 minutes walk westwards, there’s a highly recommended Georgian street food joint called Royal Healthy Slices – if you’re not in the mood for a sit-down meal. 

But it wouldn’t be a trip to Bavaria without visiting – indeed, frequenting – the local beer halls. My pick has to be the iconic Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, which goes back to 1589 and William V, Duke of Bavaria – though the original building was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in 1958. It is said that Mozart wrote the opera Idomeneo after several visits to the Hofbräuhaus. Good enough for Mozart, good enough for me! 

Finally, “geist” has an interesting history in Germany, being central to Hagel’s philosophy. As with many German words, there isn’t an exact English equivalent – “spirit,” “mind,” and “ghost” serving as rough translations. Incidentally, it’s Immanuel Kant’s 300th birthday on April 22, so why not, in the “spirit” of German philosophy, go on a ghost tour? I hear some of Munich’s ghost tours are especially good. Insulted by my segway from Hegal to ghost tours? Well, The Munich Readery is, I’m told, the best English bookstore in Munich. Or you could pay the architecturally interesting Juristische Bibliothek (Law Library) in the New Town Hall a visit – the spiral staircase alone is worth the trip! 

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About the Author
James Strachan

Over the course of my Biomedical Sciences degree it dawned on me that my goal of becoming a scientist didn’t quite mesh with my lack of affinity for lab work. Thinking on my decision to pursue biology rather than English at age 15 – despite an aptitude for the latter – I realized that science writing was a way to combine what I loved with what I was good at.

From there I set out to gather as much freelancing experience as I could, spending 2 years developing scientific content for International Innovation, before completing an MSc in Science Communication. After gaining invaluable experience in supporting the communications efforts of CERN and IN-PART, I joined Texere – where I am focused on producing consistently engaging, cutting-edge and innovative content for our specialist audiences around the world.

 

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