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Clint Alfaro receives Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry Best Paper Award 2016

Young chemist honored for research in ambient ionization mass spectrometry applications in the field of cancer tissue-biopsy diagnosis

Heidelberg | New York, 8 February 2017

Journal cover: Analytical and Bioanalytical ChemistryClint Alfaro is the winner of this year’s ABC Best Paper Award, presented by the Springer journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. In a paper published in ABC, first author Alfaro and his colleagues describe molecular techniques, in particular mass spectrometry, which have great potential to augment the surgeon’s toolbox. The techniques could guide surgical decision making during tumor resection, thus benefiting patient outcomes. The award, accompanied by 1,500 euros, was created by Springer to honor exceptional young scientists and to stimulate their research careers. The ABC Best Paper Award has been given since 2005.

“This research is a key contribution to the literature as it clearly demonstrates how innovations in mass spectrometry ionization sources can have significant impact in medicine,” said David C. Muddiman, Editor of ABC. “In the study, Alfaro and his colleagues demonstrate the use of touch-spray mass spectrometry for the direct analysis of kidney tissue from patients with renal cell carcinoma. They were able to demonstrate very high sensitivity and specificity of this approach; moreover, the authors carried out DESI in mass spectrometry imaging mode as a reference method which also yielded high sensitivity and specificity. Interestingly, detailed analysis of the data showed that the two different methods used different molecules to delineate cancer from non-cancerous tissue. This report is a major step forward as it demonstrates the power of mass spectrometry ‘in the operating room,’ a location that will grow exponentially in the next several decades.”

Clint Alfaro © Clint AlfaroClint M. Alfaro (25) is a PhD candidate in analytical chemistry at Purdue University. He graduated with international honors and a B.S. in biochemistry and biology from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, in 2014. His current research focuses on applications and method development in the rapid disease-state characterization of surgical biopsy specimens with ambient ionization-MS.

Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry’s mission is the rapid publication of excellent and high-impact research articles on fundamental and applied topics of analytical and bioanalytical science. Its scope is broad, encompassing the entire range of analytical and bioanalytical research and encouraging multidisciplinary solutions to problems in this field. ABC counts among the leading journals in its field and is partly owned by eight prestigious chemical societies.


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Photo credit: Clint Alfaro.

Further information

The article “Ambient ionization mass spectrometric analysis of human surgical specimens to distinguish renal cell carcinoma from healthy renal tissue” by Clint M. Alfaro, Alan K. Jarmusch, Valentina Pirro, Kevin S. Kerian, Timothy A. Masterson, Liang Cheng, and R. Graham Cooks is freely available online at  or can be requested as a PDF.

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