Ron Heeren receives Thomson Medal

Prof. dr. Ron Heeren received the prestigious Thomson Medal for his work in the field of mass spectrometry. The International mass spectrometry foundation (IMSF) awards the medal every two years for “outstanding achievements in and distinguished service to international mass spectrometry.” 

The Dutch Society for mass spectrometry ( nominated Heeren for his pioneering work in the field of imaging mass spectrometry and instrumentation development, as well as his outstanding service record to the mass spectrometry community at large. The IMSF awarded the prize in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the award ceremony to be postponed. Heeren received the medal during a large, international conference on mass spectrometry (IMSC2022) in Maastricht, which he organised.

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Ron Heeren receives the Thomson medal

Research community

For the larger part of his career, Ron Heeren has been working on translational imaging mass spectrometry: the mapping of the distribution of biomolecules in pathological tissue coupes (thin slices of tissue). In 2014 he established the Maastricht MultiModal Molecular Imaging Institute (M4i), which is now one of the leading mass spectrometry based molecular imaging institutes in the world, with many cross-disciplinary collaborations. He is and has been active in many professional organizations that promote mass spectrometry research and education. Heeren: “This award is very special to me personally as it reflects the recognition of the entire global mass spectrometry community. A community that I and my team have enjoyed contributing to and interacting with throughout my journey through mass spectrometry. It has brought us great science and amazing friends across the globe. I also like that this prize was now awarded to me in Maastricht (due to COVID), in the presence of so many friends from around the world. I am thankful to all people and organizations that have supported me to get where I am now and receive this unexpected honor.”


Heeren is the third Dutch laureate of the Thomson medal since its inception in 1985. The Thomson Medal Award is named after Sir J. J. Thomson, who was responsible for the first mass spectrograph and its resulting data more than 100 years ago. He also predicted many features of modern mass spectrometry. He discovered the electron using mass spectrometry and won the Nobel Prize in 1906 for his research.