B American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 2017 J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. (2017) 28:1739Y1740
FOCUS: USING ELECTRONS AND RADICAL CHEMISTRY
TO CHARACTERIZE BIOLOGICAL MOLECULES: EDITORIAL
Focus Honoring Dr. Kristina BKicki^ Håkansson, Recipient
of the 2016 Biemann Medal
t is a pleasure to introduce a special focus of the Journal of
the American Society for Mass Spectrometry to celebrate the
accomplishments of the 2016 Biemann Medalist, Dr.
Kristina (Kicki) Håkansson. This issue contains articles
around the theme “Using electrons and radical chemistry
to characterize biological molecules.” The eight articles
cover the following topics: use of electron detachment
dissociation or electron transfer dissociation to character-
ize modifications of biomolecules; development of new
solution-phase or gas-phase methods to characterize
peptides; top-down sequencing using electron transfer
dissociation or electron capture dissociation for protein
characterization; and use of high-resolution native
top-down mass spectrometry to characterize protein
complexes. I thank all the authors and reviewers for
helping this issue come to fruition. For readers to learn
more about Kicki’s background and motivations, an
Binterview^ format has been adopted.
Interview with Kristina Håkansson:
Q: Many of us were inspired to pursue science by our high school
teachers. What were your chemistry teachers like at school?
Kicki’sanswer.My high school math, physics, and chemistry
teachers were all wonderful. I was in a Bnatural sciences^ program
with a high-achieving group of students. I do recall that the
chemistry teacher had to give most of us the highest possible grade
(5 on a scale from 1 to 5) after we took the national standardized
test. One memory is that he taught us the optimal way of doing
dishes. I also fondly remember the hands-on demonstrations.
Q: What made you choose science for your tertiary education?
Kicki’sanswer.I was mainly applying to medical schools
but then I received a flyer in the mail saying something
like Bare you the kind of student who likes BOTH
Chemistry/Biology AND Math/Physics, then this new pro-
gram is for you.^ This wording resonated with me, and I
applied to the new program in molecular biotechnology at
the School of Engineering at Uppsala University. I was
admitted to this program but not to medical school and
decided to give it a try. It turns out I really liked the
breadth of the courses I was taking and the overall envi-
ronment in the engineering school so I stayed in the 4.5-
year program to earn my M.Sc. degree after doing research
involving atomic force microscopy (AFM) of DNA.
Q: What was your first research experiment in chemistry?
Kicki’s answer. The last semester of the M.Sc. program required
full-time research and a thesis. I did not know exactly what I
wanted to do but attended a seminar by Bo Sundqvist (Professor
of Ion Physics and cofounder of the molecular biotechnology
M.Sc. program) in which he showed one of the first AFM
images of an antibody. I was blown away by the fact that you
could see the Y-shape of a single molecule with this technique!
Following this seminar, I contacted Prof. Sundqvist, and he
agreed to accept me into his laboratory (which also did a lot of
mass spectrometry, but that came later). My first experiments
involved figuring out the optimum buffer conditions for imaging
DNA with AFM (i.e., how to avoid spaghettilike supercoiled