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Plenary Speaker

Dr. Catherine Fenselau


Dr. Catherine Fenselau

Catherine Fenselau was one of the first trained mass spectrometrists to join the faculty of an American medical school (Johns Hopkins). She was given the job description to “exploit mass spectrometry in biomedical research.” In early work she pioneered MS investigations of intact microorganisms, analysis and novel reactivities of drug conjugates with glucuronic acid and glutathione, and benchmark analyses of zinc fingers and metallothioneins. Her laboratory reported early determinations of gas phase peptide basicities including the first measurement of arginine’s proton affinity, target capture in ion molecule reactions, and the stability of α-helices and β-sheets in the gas phase. Her group introduced enzyme-catalyzed O-18 labeling, Asp-selective acid cleavage and the use of nanoparticle pellicles into proteomic workflows, and since 2000 they have exploited proteomic strategies to investigate mechanisms of tumor resistance to chemotherapy and immunotherapy.


Her contributions to mass spectrometry and its biomedical applications have been recognized by awards from the American Chemical Society, the International Mass Spectrometry Foundation, the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the Human Proteome Organization, the Pittsburg Conference, and others. She was associate editor of Analytical Chemistry for 26 years and the founding editor of Biomedical Mass Spectrometry (now Journal of Mass Spectrometry). She is a past president of ASMS, founding president of US HUPO, and was senior vice president of international HUPO.


She has published more than 380 peer reviewed research papers and book chapters, and about one hundred and forty undergraduates, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows have received training in Dr. Fenselau’s laboratories.


Fenselau grew up in Nebraska, received her A.B. from Bryn Mawr College and earned a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Presently she is Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, Affiliate Professor of Bioengineering, and a member of the Greenebaum Cancer Center.