Oct 1 – Laboratory and Battelle Fellow Dick Smith of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been recognized for his many accomplishments in pioneering the development of proteomics tools. Scientists use these instruments to study the array of proteins and related molecules that make up much of human blood and tissues.
The Human Proteome Organization, or HUPO, honored Smith with its annual Discovery Award. HUPO is an international scientific organization dedicated to promoting proteomics. As the workhorses of cells, proteins take the instructions coded in a chromosome’s genes and turn them into a functioning organism. Proteomics seeks to understand what proteins are functioning in healthy tissues — and when — and how dysfunction leads to disease. Proteomics researchers want to use this information to enable both better detection of diseases and to understand what is needed to develop better cures.
In receiving this award, Smith gave a special address to the 8th Annual HUPO World Congress on Proteomics and Human Health: Environment and Disease. In his presentation, Smith described some of the proteomics developments that earned him this recognition, concluding with a description of a new platform that analyzes samples at least ten times faster than its predecessor. Smith has received dozens of patents while leading the creation of these instruments that can separate and identify proteins and other molecules with higher sensitivity, accuracy and resolution for biological and biomedical applications.
Smith leads a team of a couple dozen physicists, biochemists, engineers and computer scientists at PNNL and EMSL, DOE’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory on PNNL’s campus. Their instruments are based on separation methods that include liquid chromatography and ion mobility in combination with mass spectrometry.