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PhD Travels

By Cathrine Terro and Lidia Molina

The Trip to Maastricht

It is always exciting to travel for a conference to a new country when you are working on your PhD. The ESRs were heading to one of the oldest cities in Holland (Maastricht), for the mid-term check meeting and some to attend the 24th International Mass Spectrometry Conference (IMSC).

About Maatricht:
It is the capital of the Limburg province and is located on the Maas River where its name comes from 'crossing at the Maas'. Maastricht is a historic small charming city with medieval architecture, aesthetic houses and an impressive number of 1677 historical heritage buildings. Maastricht is also the location where a treaty signed there in 1992 led to the establishment of the European Union and the Euro.


Maastricht Center

Foodtranet Mid-term Check

The mid-term check took place on August 26 & 27, 2022 at the Maastricht MultiModal Molecular Imaging Institute – M4i. All of the ESRs and supervisors gathered again after the last Summer School training event. The meeting commenced with a warm welcome from Dr. Ron Heeren followed by an introduction to the meeting by the REA Project Officer and the project coordinator. This was succeeded by individual presentations given by each ESR about their research project progress and foreseen research. Also, a tour of the innovative M4i laboratories was given at the end of the day. The following day included a trip and a short hike around the Domein Aldenborgh, a local Limburg winery in the village of Eys with a beautiful landscape and view of the city. Although the Netherlands is a small producer of wine, it is becoming a strong growing branch of Dutch agriculture where the country holds 180 commercial vineyards.

Lidia Molina

At M4i

Mudita Vats

M4i lab tour

Mudita Vats

At the winery; Domein Aldenborgh

International Mass Spectrometry Conference (IMSC)

The IMSC was one of the biggest conferences we attended since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, with around 1500 attendees. Before the conference started, some short courses were given during the weekend. ESRs 3, 6, 10, 14, and 15 were presenting their work at the conference.

Lidia Molina

MECC The Venue

Mudita Vats

Short courses

The Courses
Weekends are normally for resting and disconnecting from work, but that's not the case if you're a PhD candidate! That’s why Mudita Vats (ESR3) and Lidia (ESR 14) collected their passion for science and took the chance to enrol in the IMSC short courses. The topics of the courses were very diverse, from Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) to Clinical Proteomics. Mudita attended the IMS course and she learned about the fundamental aspects and the different technologies of IMS. Lidia attended the course focused on Tandem Mass Spectrometry in which she got a deeper insight into this technique and could refresh the essential concepts of Tandem MS and take home some practical tips.

The Opening Ceremony
Once the courses were finished, the conference started with a big bang, literally. Where the musical band, Segura!, performed a warm and vibrant number.

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony

After this exciting act, the ceremony started and the participating ESRs had the opportunity to speak to big companies like Bruker, Agilent Technologies, and researchers from all over the world at the welcome reception.

ESRs & Supervisors Presenting

Five of the ESRS presented their work at the IMSC in the form of an abstract and poster.

Cathrine and Lidia

Cathrine Terro & Lidia Molina

ESR 3: Mudita Vats presented: ˝Sample Preparation Strategies of Mushroom as a Model for Food Quality Assessment Using Mass Spectrometry Imaging˝.
ESR 6: Cathrine Terro presented ˝Foodtrack – Stable Isotope Tool for Determination Of Authenticity and Traceability of Food˝.
ESR 10: Eirini Andreasidou presented ˝Development Of An Analytical Method For The Determination of Contaminants Of Emerging Concern in Treated Wastewater˝.
ESR 14: Lidia Molina presented ˝Microplastic Characterization in Seafood by Mass Spectrometry Imaging˝.
ESR 15: Nayyer Rehman ˝Using Podcasts for Science Communication: An Example of Public Perception to Mass Spectrometry Applications.˝
The book of published abstracts can be found on this link

Lidia Molina

Mudita Vats & Eirini Andreasidou

Mudita Vats

Nayyer's Poster

Not only did the ESRs participate in IMSC but also the supervisors by giving inspirational talks!
Eva Cuypers (M4i – Maastricht University) did an oral presentation about single-cell mass spectrometry imaging. She explained how this technology could be a powerful tool in cancer research. Women in science have not always been recognised. That’s why we need organisations, such as FeMs (Females in Mass Spectrometry) to support women in the scientific community. Berta Cillero Pastor (MERLN – Maastricht University) explained her scientific career and her achievements in the FeMS workshop that took place on Monday 29th.

Last but not least, one of the Foodtranet supervisors, Ron Heeren (M4i – Maastricht University) received the prestigious Thomson Medal for his work in the field of mass spectrometry. The International Mass Spectrometry Foundation (IMSF) awarded the prize in 2020, but the award ceremony was postponed until IMSC2022 due to COVID-19 pandemic. This was not that unfortunate, since we could see Ron shining and congratulate him on this unique moment in his career!

Thomson Medal award ceremony

Thomson Medal award ceremony

Upcoming Event: ITN Team Building, 23-26.9.2022

In September, we will be having an exciting teambuilding event in Slovenia. The ESRS will be rafting in the Soča River in the town of Bovec & hiking the Juliana trail to Kobarid and other common activities for team building. So, stay tuned!

If you'd like to leave a constructive comment, we'd love to hear from you.