Researcher honoured for his contributions to science

York Professor K. W. Michael Siu radiates energy in more ways than one.

Siu, a professor of chemistry and director of the Centre for Research in Mass Spectrometry in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, is the recipient of the Gerhard Herzberg Award.

Left: Michael Siu

The award is given annually by the Canadian Society for Analytical Sciences and Spectroscopy to a Canadian spectroscopist in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field.

Siu received the award at the 2004 International Conference on Analytical Sciences and Spectroscopy held in Halifax Aug. 15. As part of the honour, Siu delivered the Gerhard Herzberg Award Lecture, titled From Metal Hydrates to Cancer Markers; Highlights in a Spectrum of Mass Spectrometric Studies.

“I am honoured and humbled by the selection,” said Siu. “I have been blessed with fantastic collaborators.” Siu dedicated the award to his research team and collaborators. He was nominated by Diethard Bohme, the Canada Research Chair in physical research chemistry at York.

Spectroscopy is the branch of physics concerned with the production, measurement and interpretation of electromagnetic spectra arising from either emission or absorption of radiant energy by various substances. Mass spectrometry is a subset of spectroscopy that deals with ions. Siu’s research focuses on novel proteomics technologies and methodologies for rapid and comprehensive protein identification and sequencing.

An energetic and prolific contributor to the scientific community, Siu is the author of over 110 scientific papers, four peer-reviewed book chapters and the co-editor of two books, Instrumentation for Trace Organic Monitoring and Reference Materials for Environmental Analysis. He has given over 200 presentations on his research.

In 1991, Siu received the MacColl Prize for “most outstanding contribution to science” for a paper on thermal denaturation of proteins in electrospray mass spectrometry published in the Journal of Organic Mass Spectrometry. In 1994, Siu received the F.W. Karasek Award from the University of Waterloo and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy for his achievements in environmental science. He was awarded the McBryde Medal by the Canadian Society for Chemistry in 1996 for his achievements in pure and applied analytical chemistry. In 2002, the Federation of Chinese Canadian Professionals Education Foundation honoured Siu with the Award of Merit for his long-term impact and exceptional achievement in science.

Siu joined York University in 1998 as a professor and the NSERC/MDS Sciex Chair of the Department of Chemistry. He has been the director of the Centre for Research in Mass Spectrometry since 2000.