Post Travel Awardee Statements

The SGMS awards on a regular basis travel grants to students for national and international meetings. In this section, the awardees present a small report on their travel.


Awardee Frederik Weiss
Institute EAWAG
Conference Pesticide workshop in Costa Rica
Date November 26 - December 4, 2018
Location Universidad Nacional, Heredia and Zarcero in Costa Rica
Award Student Travel Award [750 CHF]

The SGMS Travel grant was a great support for visiting pesticide workshops in Costa Rica. This workshops were organized together with our local partners of the Regional Institute of studies about toxic chemicals (IRET) at the Universidad Nacional (UNA), Heredia, Costa Rica and our partners from the SWISS Tropical and Public Health Institute.

During my stay in Costa Rica we had workshops during three days with local farmers, and I could present my latest data about the presence of pesticides and their environmental relevance detected in eight streams of the Costa Rican Tapezco river catchment. This catchment was intensively used for horticultural farming and during my PhD I used there three different low‐tech passive sampling devices and combined them with advanced massspec technologies (GC‐ACPI‐MS/MS and LC HRMS) to detect about 260 pesticides. Besides my environmental data, results from a clinical human pesticide exposure study, conducted in the Tapezco river catchment, and data about identified policy gaps in pesticide application and the protection of water resources were presented as well. It was a great experience to collaborate with an interdisciplinary research team and with our local partners. The working mood during these workshops was great for the workshop leaders as well as for the approximately 90 participants with lively discussions from both sides.

Together with our local partners, we could provide information about the actual state of pesticide pollution of our study catchment to local farmers, and during additional meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and authorities from the local University. In addition, we could discuss strategies how to mitigate the exposure of pesticides to the farm workers and into the environment within our study catchment.

I highly appreciate that the SGMS board supported my participation at the pesticide workshops in Costa Rica.

Awardee Yvonne Forster
Institute University of Zurich
Conference XXII International Mass Spectrometry Conference
Date August 26 - 31, 2018
Location Florence, Italy
Award Student Travel Award [500 CHF]

I got the amazing possibility to present my work about the structure elucidation of acylpolyamines in spider venom (by UHPLC-HR-MS and MS/MS) in a 15-minute presentation at the IMSC 2018 in Florence.

For me, the participation at this well-organized conference with more than 1700 participants from 68 different countries was impressive and inspiring. The conference program, containing a selection of 200 talks and over 1000 posters, covered fundamental and application mass spectrometry research. This provided a great overview of what is possible with mass spectrometry. The talks as well as the poster sessions were well visited and there was a general atmosphere of interest and curiosity and a lot of possibilities for scientific exchange and networking. The scientific program was completed with lunch symposia and a number of workshops. Especially interesting for me was the workshop “Careers in Mass Spectrometry” where six experts from academia, industry and recruiting presented their career paths and were available to answer all type of questions.

The warm weather, the impressive architecture of Florence and the delicious Italian food contributed very well to an enjoyable atmosphere and invited to build up (business) relationships long after the conference center closed it’s doors.

I highly appreciate that the SGMS supported my attendance at this conference with a travel grant. It was a really great experience and my research will for sure benefit from new inputs and ideas I gained in Florence.

Awardee Lorenzo Querci
Institute University of Zurich
Conference XXII International Mass Spectrometry Conference
Date August 26 - 31, 2018
Location Florence, Italy
Award Student Travel Award [500 CHF]

The conference I attended was the International Mass Spectrometry Conference (IMSC) held in Florence, Italy. This edition was one of the most attended edition, with more than 1700 registered user and more than 1200 scientific work presented. Different parallel sessions were held during the conferences with topic ranging from fundamentals to applied analytical chemistry. It was extremely interesting to see many different field of research correlated with mass spectrometry and although not many people were familiar with the topic of my research (instrument development for elemental analysis), I had the honor to present my latest work with a 15+5-minute talk. I could really profit from sharing some insight of my work with people with little experience with the topic, since I was forced to see my project from another prospective. The conference was held in the lovely city of Florence which was both an advantage and a disadvantage. Being an extremely rich city in art and attraction, many participants preferred to sightseeing in the free time and therefore the social interaction, in my opinion, suffered. 

I would anyhow encourage everyone who is working with analytical chemistry to participate to the IMSC. The broad topics present, allow with one conference to have an overview about what is going on in the mass spectrometry field.

Awardee Michel Raetz & David Ruskic
Institute University of Geneva
Conference 66th ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics
Date August 26 - 31, 2018
Location Florence, Italy
Award Student Travel Award [2x 1'000 CHF]

Participants supported by the SGMS travel award: Michel Raetz and David Ruskic

The annual ASMS conference is known for being the world-leading forum for the scientific exchange among members of the mass spectrometry community. This year’s conference took place in San Diego, CA from 3 to 7 June 2018. 7500 participants from 80 countries attended the conference, providing a diverse international environment. It was a great opportunity to expand our professional network. We had the chance to meet very interesting scientists, and possibility to put a face to an often read name. The conference program covered all aspects of fundamental and experimental approaches, novel instrumentation, and cutting-edge applications and instrumentation. Both of us found highly interesting content within the more than 200 lectures and 600 posters. The poster presentations gave us the opportunity to get important input from people working in our specific field or originating from a different background. During the conference, we dedicated all of our time to profiting as much as possible from the scientific community as we could.

The lipidomics sessions belonged to the highlights of the conference from a personal point of view. The diversity of lipidomics approaches from a methodology and application point of view was ranging from shotgun to multi-dimensional separations for studies on a cellular level up to large scale clinical trials. The potential of lipidomics as a tool in personalized medicine for diagnostics or therapeutic approaches was impressive. Within the section dedicated to the lipidomics, I had poster presentation (High resolution ),

The metabolomics that represents one of the biggest “omics” research fields comprises different scientific communities from biology, biochemistry and analytical science. This analytical scientist very often lack of understanding of biological questions and the answer can only be found if adequate analytical methods are developed with respect to selectivity, sensitivity and method reliability. The ASMS conference represent right place to fulfill the synergy among these disciplines. Within the section dedicated to the metabolomics, I had poster presentation (Parallel Derivatization Strategy with Broad Metabolite Coverage Coupled to SWATH-MS Data Acquisition for Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis), where I gain opportunity to discus with numerus people from academia and institutes that are working in the same field or topics that are related to the metabolomics.

Another important and interesting part of the conference was the possibility to meet exotic vendors presenting their latest technological innovations, such as new micro flow pumps technology, with incredible flow accuracy over the wide range of the flow controls, from micro to high flow (Prolab). This offers a good occasion to stay up to date on state-of-the-art technologies. Tutorials such as “Mass spectrometry and Nuclear Forensics” presented by Gregory Eiden, and the others experts at the beginning of each session, allowed us to get an insight into new methods, instrumentation and techniques, and sometimes about a slightly different field, which is important for our scientific development. Additionally, the evening workshop “How to Build Your Own IMS” presented by Brian Clowers, Valérie Gabelica and Jakub Ujma that was more interactive way of the presentation, where they presented their project focusing on the technical issues that were opened questions for discussions. In addition to, lipidomics workshop were focused on a different separation science (HILIC, SFC, ets.) and their benchmarking as well as novel approaches for data acquisitions and data processing. 

We would like to thank the SGMS board for supporting our participation at the 2018 ASMS conference. It was a great experience for both of us!

Awardee Christine Egli
Institute EAWAG, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
Conference The Environmental Sciences: Water Gordon Research Seminar
Date June 23 - 29, 2018
Location Holderness NH, United States
Award Student Travel Award [750 CHF]

I was invited to present my work with an oral presentation (at the GRS) and a poster (at the GRC). Both presentations highlighted my research on photochemical modifications in aquatic extracellular enzymes. The generous SGMS Travel Award supported my attendance at the Gordon Research Conference and Seminar (GRC/GRS) Environmental Sciences: Water. This small international conference (approx. 130 participants) is host to a broad discussion about environmental aquatic research.

This event was a great opportunity to illustrate the use of our proteomics approach in environmental science and talk about further applications. The small size of the conference and the emphasis on individual discussions helped me reflect and provided me with ideas for new research directions. It was a great experience and I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this event.