• Editorial Team

By Qifeng Lin


If you are a SSMS member and searching for funding opportunities to attend conferences, look no further. As part of ongoing efforts to promote scientific learning and mass spectrometry training, SSMS offers travel awards to fund members, especially young scientists, to attend MS-related regional and international conferences. Students and postdoctoral fellows are eligible to apply for up to SGD500 each for the Asia-Oceania Mass Spectrometry Conferences (AOMSC). For all other members, up to SGD500 each is available for regional conferences, while applicants for international conferences are eligible for up to SGD1000 each.

Last year, the SSMS Travel Award was awarded to Yew Mun Lee, a research fellow from the Department of Biological Sciences (National University of Singapore), who presented his work in the Asia Oceania Human Proteome Organization (AOHUPO) conference in Japan.

"I was privileged to be awarded the travel award by the Singapore Society for Mass Spectrometry (SSMS) to attend the 9th Asia Oceania Human Proteome Organization Conference under the joint conference on Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics 2018 in Osaka, Japan. The beauty of attending international conferences lies with reaping twice the rewards. Firstly, it allows one to communicate and exchange intellectual information with like minded researchers from your field of research. Secondly, it provides one the chance for exposure to the cultural aspect of the country hosting the conference. Having not visited this part of the world before, I was blessed to have met many wonderful Japanese at the conference and beyond. I’m delighted with the new scientific knowledge I had picked up from the conference, as well as the good break away from the sample processing and the ion spectra I see frequently. Henceforth, despite the need to leave your work and travel out of the country, it is a worthwhile experience. Being a member of the SSMS, I was made aware of this travel award that could help alleviate part of the travelling cost for the conference trip. As travelling cost is always a consideration for scientists wanting to travel out to conferences, the availability of this travel award made my decision more straightforward. From a scientist point of view, conferences would no doubt extend your horizon on the knowledge in your field of research, and the necessary break would provide a much-needed respite for more future hours in the laboratory. So, do take the opportunity with the SSMS travel award and start planning for your next conference!”

Find out more or apply for the SSMS Travel Awards.

by Matthew Choo


Infecting plants with a weak virus strain protects the plant from a more severe virus strain, according to a recent article published in the Journal of Proteomics by researchers from NUS, the NUS-Suzhou Research Institute, and Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (see link below). This could have huge impact on farmers whose crops are being devastated by the tobacco mosaic virus.

Much like how vaccinating children with a weaker attenuated form of a virus protects them from the virus, the team of scientists "vaccinated" a tobacco plant with a weak strain of tobacco mosaic virus only to discover that the plant was protected from a later infection by the full-blown virus. Since plants, unlike humans, do not have an adaptive immune system that remembers past infections, the team were puzzled by how the plant could raise its defences against a subsequent infection by a full-strength tobacco mosaic virus.

To discover the answer, Dr. Prem Prakash Das and others from Prof Lin Qingsong’s NUS group did quantitative proteomics using a special peptide tag called iTRAQ, two-dimensional separation of peptides and a SCIEX 5600 TripleTOF mass spectrometer. This setup allowed them to compare changes in the plant's protein levels before and after its vaccination. What they found was that in response to the weaker virus, the plant bolstered its rate of photosynthesis and began to produce antioxidants. The extra energy and antioxidants allowed the plants to withstand and survive the attack of the severe strain of the tobacco mosaic virus.

It seems like downing cans of Red Bull and Vitamin C works for plants as it does for humans when we catch a cold.

You can read the scientific article at the Journal of Proteomics: Das Prem Prakash, Gao Ming Chua, Qingsong Lin, and Sek-Man Wong. “ITRAQ-Based Analysis of Leaf Proteome Identifies Important Proteins in Secondary Metabolite Biosynthesis and Defence Pathways Crucial to Cross-Protection against TMV.” Journal of Proteomics 196 (March 30, 2019): 42–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jprot.2019.02.002.

Author Profiles:




by Xavier Gallart-Palau

Since the sudden emergence of Mass Spectrometry (MS) in the 80s of the past century, MS technologies have been considered as highly valuable elements in clinical chemistry laboratories. This fact opened the door to the introduction of proteomics and bioinformatics in the medical field. Although in biomedical research MS technologies, bioinformatics and proteomics have become indispensable resources, their bedside translation still faces several challenges that require of extensive multidisciplinary debate and knowledge exchange. The cost of the specialized equipments and of MS instruments maintenance required to obtain optimal results in the clinical settings, the requirements of skilled labour force to solve the future challenges of personalized medicine from MS settings and the world-wide regulatory uncertainty will be some of the issues that will be discussed in this section of the SSMS newsletter. Our co-editor Xavier will interview national and international medical doctors and other clinicians together with internationally-renowned MS experts to debate about the challenges and potential improvements that these “two worlds colliding” can face together.

Do not miss our first section of “two worlds colliding” in the next SSMS newsletter issue!

For the Advancement and Sharing of Knowledge


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