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User innovation takes center stage at 2024 Mass Photometry Summit

Updated: Jun 4

The remarkable evolution of mass photometry was celebrated at the annual mass photometry user summit. From prototype to commercially available instrument used in hundreds of laboratories, this innovative technology was on display at the third annual scientific meeting of this event – dedicated to mass photometry users and hosted by Refeyn. The event took place at Wylie Conference Center on May 22 in Beverly, Massachusetts, a coastal suburb of Boston, USA.

An aerial view of a grand, historic mansion named Tupper Manor, surrounded by lush green trees and overlooking a serene body of water with several sailboats. The mansion features a red roof and cream-colored exterior, with large, elegant windows and a beautifully manicured lawn. The property sits near a scenic beach, and in the background, there are distant buildings and a picturesque coastline.
Aerial view of Tupper Manor, the venue for the 2024 Mass Photometry Summit

The meeting brought together mass photometry users, who shared how they use the technology to solve key biomolecule characterization challenges in their own research. Refeyn scientists shared developments in applications and products and gave demonstrations.

Opening the event, Refeyn’s Chief Commercial Officer, Paul Davies, commented on the impressive number of attendees at this year’s event, underpinning the rapid deployment of mass photometry for biophysical characterization of biomolecules.

Professor Philipp Kukura, one of Refeyn’s founders, told attendees about the technology’s origins, recounting stories of developing and testing instrument prototypes at the University of Oxford, England. He noted that, in those early days, the technology’s potential was obvious, and the key question was not “What can mass photometry do?” but “What can mass photometry not do?”.

From investigating oligomerization and macromolecular assembly to analyzing adeno-associated viruses (AAVs), users’ presentations and posters showed off much of what mass photometry can do – and how users are pushing it even further.

Di Wu (NIH) presents his work at the 2024 Mass Photometry Summit

Di Wu of the National Institutes of Health, an early adopter of mass photometry, talked about SEC-MP, a technique he and colleagues published in 2023. It uses a combination of size-based separation, UV detection and mass photometry analysis to determine the titer and empty/full ratio of AAV samples containing aggregates and other impurities.

Also speaking about AAV analysis was Patrick Lehmann of the University of Pennsylvania, whose comparison of mass photometry vs. analytical ultracentrifugation demonstrated mass photometry’s value as a robust tool for evaluating AAV capsid content. These findings highlight the potential role for mass photometry as a tool in the manufacturing of AAV-based therapeutics.

Ross Larue of The Ohio State University described how his wish to “drill holes in his mass photometer” led him to become an early tester of Refeyn’s MassFluidix HC system. Using the system, he said, his group was able to make breakthroughs in understanding viral intasome assembly that would not otherwise have been possible.

The day’s keynote speaker was Priyamvada Acharya from Duke University School of Medicine, whose work focuses on the HIV-1 envelope. Her talk was entitled Applications of mass photometry in the study of viral entry machines.

Other speakers were Lauren Salay of the University of Washington, who spoke about regulation of the enzyme PFK, Matt Bochman of Indiana University, who presented Dynamic DNA exchange by the telomere binding protein Cdc13.

The event concluded with an afternoon reception, which included posters as well as instrument demonstrations. Scientific discussion was rich as attendees enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and an open bar.

Closing remarks were given by Refeyn’s CEO, Gerry Mackay, and Chief Commercial Officer, Paul Davies, who emphasized the importance of this event to help maintain continued collaborations between Refeyn and users of mass photometry to push the boundaries of what this now-established technique is capable of.

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