ASMS 2014: There and Back Again

At the end of last week, the Nonlinear team returned from ASMS 2014 in Baltimore, MD. Six of us attended: Mark and Jon from our US sales team, Ian and myself from the development team, plus Rob our Product Manager and Ronan our boss. With the exception of a spectacular thunderstorm on the evening of our arrival and a couple more on our final evening, we enjoyed fantastic weather and a great welcome in Baltimore.

It was my third ASMS after Minneapolis last year and Vancouver in 2012, but our first as part of the Waters Corporation. Being part of Waters meant a few changes: under ASMS rules, we weren’t allowed our own booth in the exhibition hall; and we attended the Waters Sales and User meetings before the conference properly started on Sunday evening. So for us, the conference started on the Saturday morning with the Users meeting which consisted of presentations by a mixture of Waters staff talking about new instruments and customers discussing their scientific endeavours. My personal highlight was a very entertaining and informative keynote talk by Jeremy Nicholson of Imperial College London on the topic of population scale phenomics and the iKnife.

On Sunday, the sales meeting gave us an opportunity to catch up with colleagues from the US and elsewhere to find out about the new developments in the wider Waters organisation whilst simultaneously informing the Waters field teams on what was going to be in the next versions of Progenesis QI and Progenesis QI for proteomics. After the sales meeting, Ian and I headed over to the hospitality suite to install our software and datasets onto the PCs, ready for Monday morning’s demos.

Our stands in the Waters hospitality suite

Monday was our first of three long days in the hospitality suite, demoing Progenesis QI and Progenesis QI for proteomics to existing and prospective customers. We had a shorter daytime session on the Monday to break early for the Waters press conference where we unveiled the exciting news of what’s coming in v2.0 of Progenesis QI for proteomics.

We also had our Scientific Advisory Board meeting during the break in the Waters hospitality meeting room in the Hilton hotel which was on the 15th floor with a fantastic view of the baseball stadium at Camden Yards:

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

The meeting was a great one, with members attending ASMS present in person and a couple of advisory board members dialling in from around the world. We had a very interesting discussion on present and future scientific advancements in the fields of proteomics and metabolomics and how Nonlinear products could help scientists with forthcoming challenges. After the Scientific Advisory Board meeting, half of us went to our customer dinner with some of the SAB members and a few other customers. Meanwhile, Jon and I went back to the hospitality suite for the evening shift, which involved a surprising number of customer demos, despite the lure of food and drink available at each of the suites!

Our three days in the hospitality suite were very busy, with a constant stream of interested scientists and existing customers wanting demonstrations of both the existing software and the new features that were coming in the next versions. On Wednesday morning, we also had a well-attended breakfast seminar on ‘Mass Spectrometry & Informatics for Molecular Phenotyping’ during which Rob and Mark talked about both Progenesis applications and how their results could be combined to give multi-omics pathways information in the next versions of the two products.

Now that we’re back in the office and over the worst of the jet lag, we need to crack on – working towards the Progenesis QI for proteomics v2 release and getting the new features we demonstrated into the hands of our customers. If you’d like to try Progenesis out for yourself, please get in touch.