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ASMS 2020: Something for Everyone

Sixty-eighth American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics will be held from May 31 to June 4, 2020 in Houston, Texas

by Lab Manager

The 68th American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics will be held from May 31 to June 4, 2020 in Houston, Texas. This annual conference sees more than 6,500 attendees and more than 3,000 poster presentations and talks. If you’re looking for cutting edge information on mass spectrometry, ASMS is the event for you.

“This year, we wanted to add more diversity to the program,” says Dr. Susan Richardson, Arthur Sease Williams Professor of Chemistry at the University of South Carolina and the ASMS vice president for programs. Session topics for this year’s conference include cannabis, art and archaeology and paleontology, clinical mass spectrometry, petroleum and biofuels, forensics, food science, cancer research, and pharmaceuticals. With such a wide variety of subjects, there’s sure to be something for everyone.

Dr. Richardson shares that she is most excited about the plenary presentations: “The opening plenary speaker is involved with the Mars 2020 expedition.” Dr. Patricia M. Beauchamp is the chief technologist, engineering, and science directorate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Launching in late July, the Mars 2020 rover is expected to land on February 18, 2021 and will be collecting the first planetary samples from the Jezero Crater.

The program at ASMS will be addressing more than just mass spectrometry applications. In her special keynote lecture, Dr. Corinne Moss-Racusin will discuss what the scientific studies have to say when it comes to gender bias in academic science and how it affects diversity and scientific excellence. “We’ve never done anything like this before,” adds Dr. Richardson.

An exciting new application that will be discussed at this year’s conference is single-cell mass spectrometry. In his tutorial lecture, Dr. Peter Nemes, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park, will provide an overview of past, recent, and emerging technologies that enable single-cell mass spectrometry. “I will also discuss how data from single-cell mass spectrometry are beginning to reshape studies in the life sciences and have, in fact, led to recent discoveries in biology.”

The conference will end with a plenary lecture from Dr. Steve Brusatte, paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh. “My talk will be about dinosaurs, more-or-less based on the story I tell in my recent book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs—the story of dinosaur history, where they came from, how they rose up to dominance and spread around the world and grew to enormous sizes, how some evolved into birds, and how all of the others suddenly went extinct when an asteroid hit.” 

Dr. Brusatte’s lecture ties in perfectly with the closing event, which will take place at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The museum offers exhibits of priceless gems and minerals as well as rare fossils. The Morian Hall of Paleontology is packed with prehistoric beasts that are positioned as if in action—eating, chasing, and escaping. You won’t want to miss this exciting event.

“This conference is different from other conferences,” says Dr. Richardson. “I learn the most at the ASMS conference.” Whatever your field of research or mass spectrometry application, you’ll be sure to take something valuable away from each of the sessions.

Editor’s Note: As of the date of publication, the ASMS conference team is still welcoming all to continue with their plans for attendance. For the most up-to-date information, visit