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36th Asilomar Conference on Mass Spectrometry

The Role of Mass Spectrometry
in Neurodegenerative Disease Research
December 10 - 14, 2021

Organizers

Nathan Hatcher (Merck)
Joseph Loo (UCLA)
Rena Robinson (Vanderbilt University)
Birgit Schilling (The Buck Institute)

Important Dates & Links

November 29 (extended)
Advance Registration
Late Registration is still open

November 29
Asilomar Hotel Reservation Deadline

Covid-19 Precautions for the In-Person Asilomar Conference

Updated Sunday, November 14, 2021 to include details on using a home Covid test for your proof of negative test result.

At this time we plan to require:

  • Proof of vaccination (at least two weeks from last shot)
  • Proof of negative Covid test result dated within 72 hours of your arrival at confernece (antigen or PCR). For a home test follow manufacturer instructions carefully, take a photo of result + your ID + any dated receipt (for proof of date).
  • Masks must be worn inside the session room and other public indoor spaces where conference may gather, except while eating or drinking.

Please bring digital or printed proof of vaccination and test result with you to the session room when you first arrive to pick up your name badge.

About the Conference

This conference will bring together biomedical researchers and mass spectrometrists to discuss and educate how mass spectrometry technologies can be used to address the growing problem of neurodegenerative diseases (NDs).

From information provided by the NIH, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive, degenerative disorder of the brain and is the most common form of dementia of the elderly. AD is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Currently, at least five million Americans at age 65 and older suffer from AD, and it is projected that the number of new cases of AD will double by 2025. AD is clearly becoming a national health crisis affecting Americans and the total annual payments of health care for people with AD are projected to be more than $1 trillion in 2050. And these numbers are only for AD. Other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and many others add to the growing healthcare issue for future generations.


Mass spectrometry has already been a leading contributing technology that has been applied to address biomedical research in these areas. Still unknown to the research community are how the proteins specific to each disease (e.g., AD (beta-amyloid, tau), Huntington’s (Huntingtin protein), Parkinson’s (alpha-synuclein), ALS (superoxide dismutase)) either cause and/or are hallmarks of the disease. Protein aggregation, folding/misfolding, modifications, etc all appear to contribute to the disease, and they are difficult to study by MS because of issues related to solubility. Yet, a recent literature search using Scifinder returned over 1800 publications when searching “neurodegenerative disease + mass spectrometry”.

Funding agencies (e.g., NIH Aging Institute, NIA; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NINDS) are encouraging more research that applies state-of-the-art mass spectrometry. This conference will bring together mass spectrometrists already engaged in various aspects of ND research with specialized biologists expert in ND. Students, postdocs, and senior researchers will learn the field that is likely to continue long-term into the future. New collaborations will hopefully develop from the discussions and interactions at the conference. 

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Asilomar Conference Free Afternoon Photos

A free afternoon can inspire. Check out how past Asilomar Conference participants took advantage of this beautiful stretch of California coast.