The Power List 2016
Professor of Mass Spectrometry, The Michael Barber Centre for Collaborative Mass Spectrometry, The University of Manchester, UK
Passion: I am most passionate about translating basic research on the conformation and flexibility of molecules to benefit humanity. Science is a global pursuit and I am constantly delighted and grateful that, as a scientist, I get to mentor, interact with and be inspired by bright minds from all over the world.
Pivotal moment: The pivotal moment in my career was in 1999 when I went to a meeting in Les Houches France, which had been set up by Jean-Pierre Shermann, John Simons and a few other brave souls to get together the emerging group of researchers working on biomolecular structure in the gas phase. I felt honored to be asked to give a hot topic talk amongst many great scientists and, whilst I described work I had performed with Tony Stace on solvated metals ions, I was for the first time able to see how even very simple systems could help the understanding of biology. Many of the attendees have now become my peers and I am a little less in awe of them than I was then. At that meeting, I was offered a post-doc by Mike Bowers, which led to my first forays of work into model biological systems, giving me the confidence to build on my track record and start an independent career. So all in all, an important meeting!
Prediction: There are many game changing technologies in biotechnology, and it would be wrong not to mention the fantastic developments in next-gen sequencing and in CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. However, I am an analytical chemist and for me the most exciting developments will be the miniaturization of analytical devices for point-of-care use, and the first commercial mass spectrometer that can provide an IR spectrum of a mass selected ion.