Group leader MS Imaging, Center for Proteomics & Metabolomics, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands
Challenges? To keep the field moving forward and truly make the analytical sciences accessible to the larger scientific community, more effort should be put into the education of not only the future generations of analytical scientists, but also those from different scientific backgrounds but with a keen interest in the analytical sciences. In fairness, I don’t think the true challenge here is education itself, but more so that it requires an altruistic approach in an extremely competitive academic/scientific environment to help out a colleague who might benefit from your knowledge to publish the next groundbreaking manuscript.
Predictions? Given the rate at which mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) is currently developing, there’s no doubt that incredible new developments will be unveiled. About 10 years ago, routine measurements were performed at 100 µm spatial resolution. The current state-of-the-art is performing measurements at subcellular spatial resolution to enable the analysis of single cells. It is a no-brainer that the future will have single organelle imaging in store, as modern mass spectrometers have already proven capable of analyzing the molecular content of isolated single organelles. Besides the ever ongoing push for spatial resolution, spatial molecular identification and annotation tools will likely become more commonplace, which should be the end of “putative identifications” commonly seen in MSI-based work.