• Open positions. Graduate student (Ph.D.) and undergraduate research positions are available in the following research areas: a/ Fundamental studies and applications of laser desorption ionization based on nanostructures. b/ Laser ablation electrospray ionization mass spectrometry for biomedical analysis and imaging. c/ Single cell analysis by mass spectrometry. Contact Professor Vertes for details at the e-mail address.

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    Jessica Stolee receives 2010-2011 ARCS award. 10-21-2010 Jessica Stolee, a graduate student in the group, received the Carleen Sims Endowment Fellowship from the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation. Jessica develops new tools for the analysis of single cells and small cell populations. This is her second ARCS Foundation award.

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    Guest co-editing of Appl. Phys. A Special Issue. Boris Luk'yanchuk and Akos Vertes co-edited a Special Issue of the journal Applied Physics A. The October 2010 Special Issue was dedicated to "Laser Ablation: Fundamentals" and contained 37 articles based on presentations at the 10th International Conference on Laser Ablation, 2009, Singapore.

  • Protea press release hits the news. 9-8-2010 Following the press release by Protea Biosciences, Inc., to commercialize our LAESI invention, the news hit the internet. Over 50 web sites reported on the announcement. Beyond the US sites, there were reports in France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Finland and Japan. German, French and Dutch translations were also found. Among the better known sites were: Bloomberg, CNBC, Drug Discovery and Development, Forbes, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, MSNBC, Reuters, Spiegel, TD Ameritrade, The Medical News, and Yahoo! Finance.

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    Protea announces LAESI commercialization. 9-8-2010 Protea Biosciences, Inc., announces the commercialization of the laser ablation electrospray ionization (LAESI) technology developed in the Vertes Laboratory. LAESI enables the direct analysis of water containing samples, e.g., aqueous solutions, biological tissues and cells, at atmospheric pressure.

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    2010 Fassel Lecture in Analytical Chemistry. On April 2, 2010, at the Iowa State University, Prof. Akos Vertes delivered the 20th Annual Velmer A. Fassel Lecture in Analytical Chemistry. His talk entitled "Tissue Imaging and Single Cell Analysis by LAESI Mass Spectrometry" discussed the utility of this new method for the direct identification of metabolites and lipids at atmospheric pressure.

  • Bioanalysis reports on mouse brain analysis. 3-17-2010 The March 2010 issue of the British journal "Bioanalysis" published by the Future Science Group reported on our mouse brain analysis work. The project had been carried out in collaboration with colleagues at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, and the results were reported in the journal Analyst.

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    Jennifer Day receives CSW award. 2-11-2010 Jennifer Day, an undergraduate in the group, received the College Chemistry Achievement Award from The Chemical Society of Washington, the local chapter of the American Chemical Society. Jennifer's research focused on exploring metabolic differences between stem cells and differentiated cells in plants using LAESI mass spectrometry.

  • Biophotonics reports on single cell analysis bt LAESI. The January, 2010, issue of Biophotonics magazine reported on our single cell analysis work. The interview focused on the application of laser ablation in single cell analysis, including molecular imaging based on single cells as pixels. The report is available online at:

What's in your wallet?
8-17-2009 WUSA 9 features our lab demonstrating
the presence of cocaine on US currency.


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    10-16-2008 Bennett Walker receives 2008-2009 ARCS award At a reception at the National Academy of Sciences, the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation announced this year's awards.

  • 7-1-2008 Analytical Chemistry reports on LAESI imaging "Akos Vertes and his colleagues at George Washington University performed in vivo molecular imaging and depth profiling on the leaves of plants with their own matrixless technique, laser ablation ESI (LAESI)."

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    7-30-2008 Peter Nemes wins Chorafas prize "The Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation was established in March 1992 in collaboration with the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences, Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences, Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, and Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences."

  • March, 2008 Biophotonics reports on AP IR-MALDI "Researchers in a number of areas, from agriculture to environmental processes to pharmacology, want to know more about the structure, and biosynthetic pathways of metabolites in plants. Because of the number and diversity of metabolites–there are an estimated 200,000 in the plant kingdom–they have had to develop a range of methods to achieve the selectivity and sensitivity needed for analysis in complex mixtures."

  • 2-9-2008 Mumbai Mirror reports on LAESI "Analyse This"

  • 2-7-2008 Reuters reports on LAESI "A new detector combines a laser with a mass spectrometer to provide on-the-spot analysis that researchers hope will have applications ranging from evaluating a tumor as it is removed to quickly detecting explosives in luggage."

  • 1-15-2008 Our AP IR-MALDI imaging work on the cover "The utility of atmospheric pressure infrared MALDI mass spectrometry (AP IR-MALDI) was assessed for plant metabolomics studies. Tissue sections from plant organs, including flowers, ovaries, aggregate fruits, fruits, leaves, tubers, bulbs, and seeds were studied in both positive and negative ion modes."


  • 11-15-2007 Base Peak article on LAESI "The proliferation of ambient, open-air ionisation techniques for mass spectrometry continues unabated, with the announcement of a unique method designed especially for the analysis of medical and biological samples containing water. It has been dubbed laser ablation with electrospray ionisation (LAESI) and employs the novel combination of an infrared laser with an electrospray to produce ions from solid or liquid surfaces."

  • October, 2007 Medical Applications of MS published "Mass spectrometry is fast becoming an indispensable field for medical professionals. The mass spectrometric analysis of metabolites and proteins promises to revolutionize medical research and clinical diagnostics. As this technology rapidly enters the medical field, practicing professionals and students need to prepare to take full advantage of its capabilities. Medical Applications of Mass Spectrometry addresses the key issues in the medical applications of mass spectrometry at the level appropriate for the intended readership."

  • 5-17-2007 Bioscience Technology reports on AP IR-MALDI " enhance its utility in proteomics, Vertes wants to take imaging mass spectrometry to the next level allowing it to work in vivo. He points to what he sees as three major limitations in current imaging mass spec technology: the requirement for a vacuum, the matrix itself, and the limitations in spatial resolution."

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    5-9-2007 Trachtenberg Prize for Scholarship "The George Washington University and President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg have announced the recipients of the 2007 Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prizes. University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg established and endowed these awards in memory of his parents with the primary goal of recognizing GW faculty members for excellence in research, service, and teaching. This year, Akos Vertes, professor of chemistry, receives the research prize."

  • 4-15-2007 Our ES images on the cover "Depending on the spraying conditions and fluid properties, a variety of electrospray regimes exists. Here we explore the changes in ion production that accompany the transitions among the three axial spraying modes, the burst mode, the pulsating Taylor cone mode, and the cone-jet mode."


  • 10-16-2006 Media breakfast features proteomics at GW "Proteomics, the systemic study of proteins based on the genome, has captured the attention of academia, government and industry alike. According to current estimates, the three billion base pairs in the human genome only code for approximately 30,000 genes. During the life cycle of cells, the information in these genes is translated into proteins, the real actors in cellular processes. The proteins in turn perform the necessary tasks (signaling, regulation, catalysis, etc.) that keep the cells alive."

  • 10-12-2006 Hatchet reports on molecular microscope "Professor Akos Vertes is helping to design a microscope to research proteins."

  • 8-11-2006 Our new paper in PRL: Electrified Dripping Faucet Electrosprays have diverse applications including protein analysis, electrospinning, and nanoencapsulation for drug delivery. We show that a variety of electrospray regimes exhibit fundamental analogy with the nonlinear dynamics of a dripping faucet.

  • Cyber-enabled mass spectrometers. Our laboratory has a history of using the cyber space for remote control and operation of complex instrumentation. In 2000, in an NSF-funded joint project with Prof. Murray Johnston of the University of Delaware (NSF Grant No. 9808166) we established a collaboratory for cyber-enabled teaching and research in laser ionization mass spectrometry. More recently, we used a cyber-enabled electrospray ionization mass spectrometer in a course on Advanced Analytical Chemistry. This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0415521.


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    10-6-2005 Meeting the Prime Minister of Hungary. On October 6, 2005, Ferenc Gyurcsany, the Prime Minister of Hungary visited GW and received the President's Medal for his role in European politics. At the ceremony, he was clearly touched by this honor and the magnificent setting the City View Room of The Elliott School of International Affairs provided. At the following reception, I had the opportunity to ask the Prime Minister about how he planned to keep intellectuals and talented white collar workers from leaving Hungary.

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    8-28-2005 Featured in NSF Broader Impact Showcase. Our work on the fundamentals of electrospray ionization was selected to be included in the "Advance Discovery and Understanding While promoting Teaching, Training and Learning" session of the NSF Broader Impacts Showcase. The linked poster was presented at the 230-th ACS National meeting. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0415521.

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    5-6-2005 Construction of new laboratory completed. Planning for larger and upgraded laboratory space started in July of 2004. The objective was to consolidate the research projects from two different buildings into a state-of-the-art new space. The construction team broke ground in January of 2005 and we started moving in on May 6, 2005.


  • Interview in VLAC Annual Report 2004 "Professor Akos Vertes conducted his research at the VLAC for three months, calculating, thinking and writing in the quiet of the premises in the heart of Brussels. Besides the group PLASMANT (Plasma Laser Ablation and Surface Modeling Antwerpen) headed by Prof. Bogaerts, guest researcher Akos Vertes also interacted with the Department of Analytical Chemistry, run by prof. Frank Vanhaecke and prof. Luc Moens at the Universiteit Gent and the research unit 'Clusters, Hybrid Nanosystems and Laser Spectroscopy' of the KU Leuven where he met the senior researchers prof. Roger E. Silverans, prof. Peter Lievens and dr. Erno Vandeweert. He participated in discussions and seminars and he also gave lectures at the three universities."

  • Elsevier/Spectrochimica Acta Award. Professor Vertes and his Belgian co-authors have received the prestigious Elsevier/Spectrochimica Acta Award honoring the most significant article published in this top journal during the year. Their paper "Laser ablation for analytical sampling: what can we learn from modeling?" demonstrates the usefulness of a gas dynamic model for the description of atmospheric pressure laser sampling of solids for chemical analysis.

  • 8-3-2004 $1.5 million grant from W.M. Keck Foundation "Akos Vertes, professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology, will serve as the principal investigator for the project. The broad objectives of the GW IPTA are to engage in research in developing new proteomics technology and in using that technology for proteomics research. The IPTA is an interdisciplinary research collaborative among the University's Departments of Chemistry, Biology and Physics at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences; the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and of Pharmacology at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences; and the Department of Computer Science at the School of Engineering and Applied Science."


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    3-26-2003 Fun in the Big Easy at the 225-th ACS Meeting. After the exciting sessions, the group relaxed with some good food and music. He came from Sweden just to play his trumpet and play he did. Flamboyant Bourbon Street revealed itself to students of electrohydrodynamics.

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    3-25-2003 Fundamentals of Electrospray Symposium at the 225-th ACS Meeting in New Orleans. This session featured a Nobel Laureate, John Fenn, and contributions form groups at the forefront of understanding electrospray ionization. Our contributions focused on the "Structure, Morphology and Dynamics of Charged Nanodroplets."

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    3-25-2003 and 6-4-2003 Meeting two of the 2002 Nobel Laureates.
    The 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to John B. Fenn for the discovery of electrospray ionization, to Koichi Tanaka for the introduction of soft laser desorption ionization methods and to Kurt Wuthrich for 3D solution NMR of biomolecules. Congratulations to all three of them for providing the cornerstones of modern proteomics technology.