Albert J.R. Heck
Chair, Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics, Utrecht University; Scientific Director, Netherlands Proteomics Center
A problem interdisciplinarians should tackle? Understanding how the human brain works, which I feel requires much more research at the cellular and molecular level. Spatial and single cell multi-omics and single molecule approaches should meet with more classical molecular and structural biology approaches – maybe with further assistance from deep-learning technologies.
The secret to a successful interdisciplinary collaboration?A successful interdisciplinary collaboration should be a multi-directional process. Educate and be educated, present and listen, and trust each other as experts in your chosen field. I have enjoyed the process of learning from collaborators – gaining knowledge in fields such as stem cell biology, immunology, electron microscopy, imaging, cardiovascular diseases, and virology. I believe these experiences have made me a better mass spectrometrist.
Biggest challenge facing the field?The administrative burden and social-political agendas of today often interfere – preventing scientists from focusing on science. We need to foster fundamental research, ensuring that scientific talent can focus on their craft to improve the world for future generations to come.