Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., has announced that it has presented Dr. Judit Villen of the University of Washington, Seattle, with the renowned American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) 2011 Research Award of $35,000.
Sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific for more than 20 years and administered by ASMS, the annual award recognizes and supports breakthrough academic research by young scientists in the field of mass spectrometry (MS).
The award has propelled many past recipients to leadership positions in MS research. Dr. Villen received the award during a ceremony at the Wells Fargo Theatre in Denver during the 2011 ASMS conference.
An independent and anonymous ASMS committee chose Dr. Villen based on her research on the MS-based analysis of protein phosphorylation in single cells. Her goal is to understand the complex cellular signaling networks that impact the expression of cancers such as human breast cancer.
The early-stage research, which the award will support, focuses on the development of a novel interface for single-cell MS using a Thermo Scientific Orbitrap hybrid mass spectrometer system. Dr. Villen will use her award to purchase laboratory supplies and equipment and, if necessary, to pay graduate student or supplement post-doctoral salaries.
“Until now, MS studies measured proteins based on the average of millions of cells, completely missing the variations between individual cells that can have substantial consequences in signaling cell growth, proliferation and differentiation, all of which play roles in the expression of diseases such as cancer,” said Dr. Ian Jardine, vice president of global R&D, Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Dr. Jardine continued, “Through her early-stage effort to develop an interface for single-cell mass spectrometry analysis, Dr. Villen will launch an exciting new era of single-cell proteomics.”
Dr. Villen joined the University of Washington as an assistant professor in the Genome Sciences Department in June 2010. Her accomplishments include contributions to numerous scientific publications, invitations to speak at meetings and conferences such as ASMS, and industry patents.
Dr. Villen also received the 2009 Howard Termin Pathway to Independence Award in Cancer Research from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).