FACSS Student Award and Tomas A. Hirschfeld Award

FACSS Student and Hirschfeld Award Application PDF

FACSS Student Awardee: Nicholas Riley
Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awardees: Ebrahim Aboualizadeh and Santosh Paidi


Nick Riley is originally from Louisville, KY and earned his B.S. degree in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of South Carolina with Honors from the South Carolina Honors College, where he was a Robert C. McNair Scholar. He conducted undergrad research in forensic analytical chemistry with Dr. Stephen L. Morgan and developed a fascination for the instrumentation he used while in the Morgan lab. Following graduation, he moved to Madison, WI to join the lab of Joshua J. Coon as an analytical chemistry graduate student at the University of Wisconsin. In his tenure there, Nick has conducted research in the field of bioanalytical mass spectrometry with a focus on developing instrumentation and methodologies to improve characterization of protein post-translational modifications in complex systems. The majority of his work has centered on improving the efficacy of electron transfer dissociation (ETD) and related tandem MS techniques. Through the use of infrared photo-activation concurrent with ion-ion reactions, Nick has significantly enhanced the capabilities of ETD to sequence peptide and protein ions in high-throughput proteomic experiments, and the scope of this exciting technology is just beginning to be explored. Throughout his graduate career Nick has worked on globally characterizing protein acetylation and phosphorylation, but his most recent efforts have focused on protein glycosylation, a chemically complex and analytical challenging modification involved in a wide array of intra- and inter-cellular functions. Nick’s work with ETD and hybrid tandem MS methods is among the first to characterize thousands of glycosites via intact glycopeptides, providing crucial site-specific biological context at an unprecedented scale. He is now continuing to develop this technology to investigate glycosylation profiles in models of cancer aggressiveness to understand cancer cell metastasis.  In all, Nick has published 17 peer-reviewed papers (10 first author) and has presented 26 oral/poster presentations at scientific conferences up to this point. He has also been honored with several distinctions, including a National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship, the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Student Award, the Marg Northcott Student Award, the Roger J. Carlson Memorial Award for Research Excellence, and a National Cancer Institute Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00) via the National Institutes of Health.


TOMAS HIRSCHFELD SCHOLAR AWARDEES:  Ebrahim Aboualizadeh and Paidi Santosh

Ebrahim Aboualizadeh : While studying Quantum Gauge Theory and cosmology during his Master’s program in 2009, Ebrahim learned of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee through the work of the Professor Leonard Parker. But exposure to a broad array of disciplines at UWM led him into a biomedical vibrational spectroscopic field with potential impact in the health sciences. As a Physics Ph.D. student under the supervision of Prof. Carol Hirschmugl, the central premise of his research was to determine the novel mechanistic insight into the pathogenesis of diabetes in the mouse retina at different duration of diabetes. Ebrahim started his doctoral research at the most advanced infrared beamline, IRENI, at the Synchrotron Radiation Center in Wisconsin, which enabled him to develop a better understanding of the relationship between structure and function of individual retinal cells. He pioneered the development of infrared spectrochemical imaging of diabetic retinal tissue engaged with chemometric tools to determine highly localized diabetes-induced alterations and oxidative stress damage in distinctive layers of retina, which has never been achieved. He has further worked on several side projects including the novel use of spectroscopic techniques and computational analysis for quantifying the activity of adipose tissues, revealing the interaction between blue-light and MRSA, and three-dimensional imaging of live cells. In recognition of his efforts, he received spectroscopy research award from the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, best poster award and travel award from Midwest Microscopy and Microanalysis Society, Distinguished Dissertator Fellowship, Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship, and David Lichtman Scholarship for outstanding performance in experimental physics. Up to now, he has published 8 peer-reviewed journal papers and 1 book chapter, and presented 12 poster/oral presentations in national and international conferences. In addition, his paper that addresses the retinal oxidative stress at the onset of diabetes determined by synchrotron FT-IR imaging has made the cover of Analyst. His innovative paradigm for detecting the temporal-dependent biomarkers of diabetes in individual retinal layers, shed light on the mechanisms leading to vision loss at cellular level. He is currently working as a postdoctoral associate in Dr. David Williams team, at the Advanced Retinal Imaging Alliance, at the University of Rochester, exploring three different approaches to vision restoration: preserving photoreceptors with gene therapy, replacing lost photoreceptors using stem cells, and genetically re-engineering cells other than photoreceptors to respond to light.

Santosh Paidi is a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. His current research efforts in Dr. Ishan Barman’s lab are directed towards application of Raman spectroscopy and multivariate data analysis to develop novel quantitative approaches for addressing unmet needs in the molecular study of cancers. His recent work in this area has resulted in the creation of a new landscape for spectroscopic monitoring of stromal adaptations in the lungs of animals bearing breast tumor xenografts, prior to the arrival of metastatic cancer cells. He demonstrated this by exploiting the unique Raman markers stemming from the stromal modifications (induced by factors secreted from the primary tumor) to develop a decision algorithm for accurate differentiation of pre-metastatic lungs in mice bearing high metastatic tumor xenografts from those in mice with low metastatic tumor xenografts and normal controls. He is currently working towards extending the developed approach to delineate the events that unfold at the pre-metastatic secondary sites and enable identification of stage specific molecular markers in a label-free fashion. In addition to applications in cancer, a major focus of Santosh’s graduate study is the development of a detection framework based on label-free plasmon-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for rapid identification of closely related human and murine antibody drugs during their manufacturing, with the ultimate goal of translation to fill-finish sites. Prior to commencing doctoral study at Johns Hopkins, Santosh graduated from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay in 2014 with a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Aerospace Engineering. As an undergraduate, his research was directed towards understanding the effects of inert gas dilution on the characteristics of hydrogen combustion. Overall, his research efforts have resulted in 9 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Cancer Research, Analytical Chemistry and Scientific Reports. He has been awarded the Whiting School Doctoral Fellowship and Mechanical Engineering Departmental Fellowship by Johns Hopkins University, Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference Student Fellowship and Undergraduate Research Award by IIT Bombay in recognition of his work. 


These awards recognize the most outstanding papers submitted to the conference by a graduate student. Recipients, who must be a graduate student at the time of application, will receive economy travel to the meeting, complimentary registration, and up to 6 nights complimentary hotel accommodations.  In order to have their presentation considered for a Tomas Hirschfeld Award or FACSS Student Award, students should submit their abstract using the SciX web site and indicate on the abstract submission form their interest in the award, complete this form, and submit form and following information electronically to facss@facss.org

a) This form. 

b) 350 word abstract of the proposed presentation for the SciX conference which is presented by FACSS. 

c) Two letters of nomination, one by the student’s mentor. An explanation of the inventive contributions by the student to the work should be given. Creativity was a primary characteristic of Tomas's work, and thus should be a characteristic of the awardee.

d) A copy of the candidates resumé. 

e) A copy of the candidate's graduate transcript. 

f) Copies of reprints and/or preprints of research accomplished. 

The recipients will be included in a session highlighting young scientists and their work.

Deadline is April 30.

Name of Candidate:___________________________________________________________







Expected date of Ph.D.:_____________

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