Van Berkel earns Biemann Medal for contributions to mass spec field

06/08/05

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 8, 2005 -- Gary Van Berkel of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Chemical Sciences Division has been awarded the Biemann Medal by the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

The international award recognizes Van Berkel's achievements and contributions to better understanding the electrochemical nature of the electrospray ion source. His work greatly advances a key Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences mission in pioneering analytical science and broadens the capabilities of mass spectrometry as it applies to homeland security, biology, nanotechnology and a host of other disciplines.

Van Berkel, whose work in this area spans the last decade, becomes ORNL's second Biemann Medal recipient. Scott McLuckey earned the honor in 1997, the Biemann's inaugural year, and no other national laboratory has captured this medal.

The Biemann Medal recognizes significant achievement in basic or applied mass spectrometry made by an individual early in his or her career. The medal is presented in honor of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Klaus Biemann and is endowed by contributions from his students, postdoctoral associates and friends. The award was announced at the society's annual conference today with the presentation of a $5,000 cash award and plaque.

Van Berkel, group leader of the lab's Organic and Biological Mass Spectrometry Group, has published dozens of papers related to the electrochemical nature of the electrospray ion source. It is this work that has led to what Van Berkel and the ASMS believes lays the groundwork to transcend the current technology because an enhanced understanding of the process will lead to greater versatility and the ability to analyze whole new types of molecules.

The native of Wisconsin joined ORNL in March 1987 as a postdoctoral associate. In October 1989 Van Berkel was named a staff research scientist. He has been in his current position since September 2001.

Van Berkel earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Lawrence (Wis.) University in 1982, and a doctorate in analytical chemistry from Washington State University in 1987. Van Berkel is an adjunct assistant professor in the University of Tennessee's Graduate School in Genome Science and Technology and a courtesy professor of chemistry at Florida International University in Miami.

He and his wife, Pouvan, have two children, Erin and Amelia, and reside in Clinton.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.

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