Females in Mass Spectrometry (FeMS), a community-led initiative to create a network of support for women in the field of mass spectrometry, awarded this year's Bertha Condron FeMS Inspiration Award to Andrea Schuhmann from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden, Germany. Andrea is a technician in the research group of Andrej Shevchenko at the MPI-CBG. The Bertha Condron FeMS Inspiration Award is given to female mass spectrometrists showing great potential for a productive, exciting career. This year, the award was intended to go to an “unsung hero” of mass spectrometry, someone who is working in a support role, for example, as a technician or lab assistant.
Andrea Schuhmann joined the MPI-CBG in 2007 after completing her diploma in biology at the Technical University of Dresden. In a very short time, she mastered the analytical and technical aspects of proteomics. “Andrea excels both in supporting the on-going research and laboratory infrastructure. She has also contributed original proteomics methods that fostered new applications. Her skills and dedication have become critical for both the research and service activities of the laboratory. They also entail a significant innovation component reflected in more than 10 peer-reviewed (one first-authored) publications,” says Andrej Shevchenko.
Besides being a recognized proteomics practitioner, Andrea plays an important role in training graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, as well as maintaining the core technical expertise and social traditions of the laboratory. “I am honored to receive this award as recognition for my work of the past 15 years,” says Andrea, and continues, “In these years, I had the opportunity to work on various projects as a part of a strong team, from method development to the final result. Like this, many biological and analytical questions have been solved, and the successful outcome has been celebrated together as a team.”
Bertha Condron (1911-1988) was born in an era when few opportunities for education and career were afforded to women. Despite hardship, she dedicated decades of her life to charity work and was an inspirational role model to her children and grandchildren. This award is given by her family in Bertha’s name to honor her and the many females in history whose stories inspire the success of future generations.