MSI conference gathered researchers from four continents in Uppsala


“Congratulations on a perfectly prepared and well-executed conference,” states Dominika Luptáková, postdoctoral fellow at the Czech Academy of Sciences and one of 130 researchers from four continents that participated in the Regional MSI Workshop at Uppsala Konsert & Kongress 27-29 March.

Regional MSI Workshop, Uppsala Koncert & Kongress
Regional MSI Workshop, Uppsala Koncert & Kongress

In late March, Uppsala University's research environment for Spatial Mass Spectrometry greeted 130 researchers from around the world to the Regional Mass Spectrometry Imaging Workshop, an international arena highlighting current advances and new innovations in a field that is becoming increasingly important in the fields of pharmacy and medicine.

“Our team organised the conference in collaboration with the Swedish Pharmaceutical Society and the newly established International Mass Spectrometry Imaging Society (IMIS). We truly appreciate this opportunity, which, in addition to providing valuable contacts within academia, industry and the public sector, gave us the opportunity to showcase cutting edge innovations and ongoing development in MSI applied to biomedical, biological and data science research areas,” says Per Andrén, Professor of Mass Spectrometry Imaging at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

The program at Uppsala Konsert & Kongress offered, among many things, eight keynote speakers, among them Richard Caprioli, MSI pioneer and director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (US). The conference also included more than 40 roundtable discussions, 64 poster presentations and – to the fascination of numerous long-distance visitors – a late blizzard that unexpectedly swept through the city.

Juliana Gonçalves, Technische Universität München
Juliana Gonçalves, Technische Universität München

“This meeting was simply fantastic. The list of speakers was memorable and the format perfect to get an update on current research and lay the foundations for new collaborations. The weather helped keeping us on our toes and I left Uppsala with new inspiration, which is the absolute best thing you can wish for after a conference like this,” states Juliana Gonçalves, PhD student at Technische Universität München.

Mass spectrometric imaging a relatively young technology, launched in the USA in the late 90s. Uppsala University's MSI facility is today firmly established among the world's foremost, and in December 2022, with finanical support from the Swedish Research Council, installed yet another instrument that have both increased the total capacity and the amount of information can be extracted from individual tissue samples.

“We primarily collaborate with research groups at Swedish and to some extent foreign universities, but also provide services to pharmaceutical companies. In 2021, we joined SciLifeLab and the newly formed Spatial Biology platform, which is already generating interesting results. The fact that researchers from four continents have now visited our infrastructure has further increased our ability to locate the projects where our work will contribute to optimised scientific outcome,” says Per Andrén.


  • Enables analysis and visualisation of endogenous metabolites, neurotransmitters, lipids, peptides, proteins and drugs and their metabolites in thin tissue sections with high molecular specificity and spatial resolution.
  • Molecular images are created by ionizing molecules and collecting mass spectra from each position (pixel) on a tissue surface at a selected lateral resolution. Thousands of ions can be detected in each pixel.
  • Computational software is used to select an individual ion, and the intensity of the ion is extracted from each pixel’s mass spectrum. These intensities are then combined into a heat map image showing the relative distribution of the ion throughout the sample’s surface.
  • The image can be correlated with a histological image from the same tissue or with images produced with other types of imaging methods from the same or nearby sections of tissue.



Per AndrénPer Andrén, Professor of Mass Spectrometry Imaging 
Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences

text: Magnus Alsne, photo: Per Andrén, private, Mikael Wallerstedt

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Last modified: 2022-11-08