Mass Spectrometry Imaging

There is a growing application of this collection of techniques and they are being inclused in correlative microscopy pipelines, therefore the RMS seemed a logical choice to address this void and bring together expertise in so many different microscopy and imaging modalities.

About

In response to communications with other members of the mass spectrometry imaging community, it was recognised that there was no section or focused interest group within the RMS based on mass spectrometry imaging. Yet, based on the growing application of this collection of techniques, and especially their ever increasing inclusion in correlative microscopy pipelines, the RMS seemed to be a logical choice to address this void as no other society can bring together expertise in so many different microscopy and imaging modalities.

Some points that were raised by everyone who responded were that it would be beneficial for the group’s priorities to raise public and political awareness for mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) across disciplines in order for the technique(s) to gain more visibility and representation at conferences and politically-based think-tank sessions that report directly to the various funding agencies. A second common theme was to demonstrate the potential of MSI in all disciplines and promote communication, collaboration and support in the MSI community so that there is a greater understanding and knowledge of the resources available and of the subject overall.

From the industrial viewpoint, specific suggestions included that one of the main aims for the group should be to raise awareness of ambient (or atmospheric) mass spectrometry techniques, as some samples can be difficult to analyse using traditional methods and some emerging methods hold great promise. In addition, it was recognised that an MSI Focused Interest Group would provide an effective means of communicating information (and raising awareness of) MSI techniques and applications.  Specifically, the MSI FIG would provide a vehicle for education about the techniques, in particular how some techniques that are traditionally used in biosciences could be applied in the physical sciences and vice-versa. It was also noted that a FIG could help spawn interest in MSI to younger scientists and would assist in the development of future knowledgeable MSI researchers (and thus experts for careers in industry R&D).  An MSI FIG would also be an effective means of developing collaborative relationships between universities and industry.

From the academia side, it was suggested that the group would be an effective way to facilitate links between researchers who are developing MSI technology and their potential end-users (and quite possibly the MSI equipment manufacturers themselves), as well as encouraging technical discussions between users of mass spectrometry imaging. Furthermore, at the undergraduate level many of the MSI techniques used by the experts within this group are not taught nor discussed to any significant length in university curricula across all disciplines (there might be a mention of TOF-SIMS occasionally). As it currently stands, most starting M.Phil or PhD/D.Phil students are starting from “ground zero” in contrast to other techniques for which they have greater knowledge such as optical, confocal or electron microscopy methods. The group would like to see that the “playing field” is evened out so to speak.

We also believe it critical that any MSI FIG include representation from the data processing, image representation and data handling standpoint. The FIG could be used as a platform, for example, for standardization of MSI imaging representations, dissemination of image processing pipelines, handling of metadata for reproducibility and best practices for image processing and mathematical/statistical analysis with discussions on their limits of interpretability. With large data sets that will only continue to grow, the group would be a good platform to gain support for data handling, processing and analysis tasks and could be used to address a particular need for more discussion surrounding data storage and transfer, as MSI data are becoming very large and complex and used in large cohort / longitudinal studies fairly routinely now.

The RMS is committed to being a welcoming, inclusive Society and encourages diversity across all activities and in the membership of our committees and groups.

If you are interested in joining any of the groups in the future, please contact Allison Winton.

Group Members

Dr Greg McMahon

Dr Greg McMahon

National Physical Laboratory

Melanie Bailey

Melanie Bailey

Surrey Ion Beam Centre 

Paul Blenkinsopp
Dr Paul Gunning

Dr Paul Gunning

Smith+Nephew

Stephanie Ling

Stephanie Ling

AstraZeneca

Amy Managh

Amy Managh

Loughborough University 

Carla Newman

Carla Newman

Glaxo Smithkline

Chelsea Nikula

Chelsea Nikula

National Physical Laboratory

Spencer Thomas

Spencer Thomas

National Physical Laboratory

Ms Abigail Thomas-Verweiv

Loughborough Surface Analysis Ltd

Other group members:

  • Adam Taylor
  • David Scurr
  • Nicole Strittmatter