Lawrence University Graduate Discusses Development, Uses of Mass Spectrometry in Science Hall Colloquium

Gary Van Berkel, an award-winning researcher at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, discusses the development and applications of mass spectrometry Tuesday, Oct. 18 in a Lawrence University Science Hall Colloquium.

A 1982 Lawrence graduate and Appleton native, Van Berkel presents “What is Mass Spectrometry?” at 11:10 a.m. in Science Hall Room 102. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Van Berkel will provide an overview of the history of mass spectrometry and explain how this important analytical technique is used to identify unknown compounds, quantify known compounds and clarify the structure and chemical properties of molecules. He also will examine some of the practical uses of mass spectrometry, ranging from the detection and identification of steroids in athletes to determining gene damage caused by environmental factors.

A member of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s staff since 1987 and the leader of the lab’s Organic and Biological Mass Spectrometry Group since 2001, Van Berkel was honored in June with the Biemann Medal by the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. The international award recognizes significant achievement in basic or applied mass spectrometry. Van Berkel was cited for his research contributions related to the electrochemical nature of the electrospray ion source.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Lawrence, Van Berkel earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Washington State University.