FACSS Innovation awardS

The FACSS Innovation Awards were founded in 2011 as part of the 2011 FACSS meeting at the suggestion of Prof. Pavel Matousek (Program Chair) and approved by the FACSS Governing Board.

These awards are given for the most innovative and outstanding new research advancements debuted orally at the SciX Conference. All program areas are included. Only research findings presented for the first time in the public domain qualify for entry. Work based on submitted papers not yet published electronically or in print at the time of abstract submission also qualifies. All attendees are eligible for the award irrespective of educational level or professional vocation.

During abstract submission, the presenting author opts in to be considered for the award and submits a short supporting statement. View complete application instructions to ensure eligibility before applying. Up to four finalists are selected to present to a panel of judges at a special plenary session on Thursday afternoon at the SciX conference. Presenters are notified in advance of the conference and each presenting author finalist will receive complimentary registration to SciX. The winner is selected by the judging panel based on the quality of the work presented, responses provided to the judges' questions after the plenary presentation, and responses to audience questions. The winner is announced at the closing plenary session on Friday morning.

Each award includes:

  • A total cash prize of $1500 and a plaque to the presenting author
  • A plaque for each co-author
  • Publicity for the awardees and their work


Come to the Innovation Award Symposium on Thursday, October 12, 2023 from 3:30–5:40 pm in Room Sierra 5

The Winner Will be Announced on Friday at the Final Session of Scix 2023!

Mengliang Zhang, PhD

“New Opportunities for Mass Spectrometry in Nanocrystal Surface Chemistry” - 

Dr. Mengliang Zhang earned his Ph.D. from Ohio University in 2015 mentored by Drs. Peter B. Harrington and Glen P. Jackson, and then received the John A. Milner Postdoctoral Fellowship working in the Food Composition and Methods Development Lab, USDA, and in the Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH.  He is the recipient of the 2014 Tomas A. Hirschfeld Scholar Award from FACSS. He started his independent career in 2017 and is now an Associate Professor in Chemistry at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).  His group uses a combination of interdisciplinary techniques, including instrumental analysis, chemometrics, and computer programming to develop new strategies and tools for nanomaterial characterization, forensic chemistry, and food science.

Yi You

“Unveiling Superior Spectroscopic Precision: A Shoebox-Sized, Low-Cost Spatial Heterodyne Spectrometer with 1-pm Resolution”

Dr. Yi You is a dedicated scientist currently serving as an Associate Scientist at the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM). Born in Shandong, China, Dr. You has carved a unique path that intertwines the disciplines of chemistry, engineering, physics, and computer science. His educational journey includes a Ph.D. in Physical/Analytical Chemistry from Kent State University in the U.S., and an Engineering degree from Luebeck University of Applied Science in Germany. These diverse academic experiences have equipped him with a versatile skill-set, which he employs to develop innovative scientific instruments. Dr. You's work is characterized by the application of modern computational techniques and engineering principles. He has a knack for programming and automation, and his expertise extends to classical optics, optical spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and acoustics. Beyond his practical contributions, Dr. You is also an active participant in the scientific discourse, with numerous publications in various scientific journals. His humble approach to his work, combined with his commitment to continuous learning, makes him a valued contributor in his field. His work continues to inspire and pave the way for future advancements in scientific instrumentation.

Jinqing Huang 

“Real-time Controlling a Single DNA in Hotspot for Programmable Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Scanning in Solution”

Jinqing Huang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Her research focuses on developing new single-molecule manipulation and characterization methods to study complex biological macromolecules. She received her B.S. in chemistry from Sun Yat-sen University in 2010 and her Ph.D. in physical chemistry under the supervision of Prof. David Lee Phillips from The University of Hong Kong in 2014. She then worked as a postdoctoral associate in biophysical chemistry with Prof. Ziad Ganim at Yale University. In 2017, she established an independent research group at HKUST, where she integrated single-molecule optical tweezers microscopy and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to achieve the active control of analytes and SERS-active substrates to resolve the heterogeneous properties of DNA/RNA/protein one at a time.

Jacob Shelley

“Acoustic Ion Manipulation: A Novel Approach to Enhance Ion-based Spectroscopies"

Jacob (Jake) Shelley, Alan Paul Schulz Career Development Professor of Chemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University. He completed his Ph.D. at Indiana University under Gary Hieftje where he studied novel plasma ionization sources for molecular mass spectrometry. Jake did postdoctoral research with Graham Cooks at Purdue University developing portable mass spectrometers capable of in situ analyses. After an Alexander von Humboldt post-doc at the University of Münster, he became Assistant Professor at Kent State University and later moved to RPI in 2016. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2023. His research interests lie in the development of new hardware and software tools for mass spectrometry, which enable rapid, sensitive detection and identification of analytes in complex matrices. In addition, his research group uses high-energy plasma-generated species to perform unique gas-phase synthesis. These research areas converge in studying chemical origins-of-life through the Rensselaer Astrobiology Research and Education (RARE) Center, where he is the Associate Director. Jake’s recognitions include a Humboldt Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Bunsen-Kirchoff Award (2017), The Analytical Scientist’s Top 40 Under 40 Power List, Spectroscopy’s 2020 Emerging Leader in Atomic Spectroscopy Award, and 2021 EAS Young Investigator Award. He’s authored 45 journal articles, 4 issued US patents, and given 50+ invited presentations worldwide.

Past Recipients


Opto-Lipidomics of Tissues; 

Mads S. Bergholt


EASI: A New Paradigm for Mass Spectral Identifications; 

Glen P. Jackson


Chemical Approaches to Improve Nanopore Single-Molecule Sensing; 

Jason R. Dwyer, James Hagan; University of Rhode Island


Electrically Triggered Water-in-Oil Droplets for Serial Femtosecond Crystallography)
Alexandra Ros (Arizona State University);

Interband Cascade Laser Frequency Combs: A New Tool for Miniaturization

Benedikt Schwarz (Technische Universität Wien);

Optical Reflection and Waveguiding of Sound in Free Space
Daniel Kazal1, Ellen Holthoff2, Brian Cullum1; 1University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 
Army Research Laboratory, Adelphi, MD

An Inexpensive Medical Device for Barrett’s Esophagus Screening; Rohith Reddy1, 2,
Michalina Gora1,2, Jing Dong1, 2, Matthew Beatty, 2, Wolfgang Trasischker1, 2, Kanwarpal Singh1,2,
Amna Soomro, 2, Catriona Grant, 2, Mireille Rosenberg, 2, Guillermo Tearney1, 21Harvard Medical School; 2Massachusetts General Hospital

Interview with Rohith Reddy by Spectroscopy

Five-dimensional Single Particle Tracking in Live Cells; Ning Fang1, Yan Gu2,Kuangcai Chen1,2, Tian Xia41Georgia State University; 2Iowa State University; 3Ames Laboratory, USDOE; 4Huazhong University of Science & 


SERS in Live 3D Cell Cultures as a New Tool for Drug Discovery; Colin Campbell1, Lauren Jamieson1, Pierre Bagnaninchi1, David Harrison2 Victoria Camus; 

1University of Edinburgh; 2University of St Andrews


Sub-PPM Detection Limits in Powder X-Ray Diffraction Guided by Second Harmonic Generation Imaging; Garth Simpson, Purdue University
Interview with Garth Simpson by Spectroscopy Magazine

Imaging Quantum Effects in Biological Systems; 
Gregory S. EngelThe University of Chicago
Interview with Gregory Engel by Spectroscopy Magazine

Portable Spectrometry: Making Good Use of CMOS Detectors; Alexander Scheeline1, Thu Anh Bui1,21SpectroClick, Inc.,  2Vietnam National University Hanoi      Interview with Alexander Scheeline by Spectroscopy Magazine

Rohit Bhargava, University of Illinois, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
Advancing Infrared Microscopy Instrumentation by Theory and Computation; Rohit Bhargava, P. Scott Carney, Rohith Reddy, Kevin Yeh, Thomas van Dijk, Matthew Gelber, Matthew V. Schulmerich; University of Illinois, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

Ultrasound Enhanced ATR mid-IR Fibre Optic Probe for Spectroscopy of Particles in Suspensions; Cosima Koch, Markus Brandstetter, Stefan Radel, Bernhard Lendl; Vienna University of Technology, Austria

Interview with Koch and Lendl
Large-Area Standoff Planetary Raman Measurements Using a Novel Spatial Heterodyne Fourier Transform Raman Spectrometer; S. Michael Angel1, Nathaniel R. Gomer1, Shiv K. Sharma2, J. Chance Carter3; 1University of South Carolina, 2University of Hawaii, 3Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Interview with Angel
Single Molecule Fluorescence Imaging Studies of Dynamic Processes in Reversed Phase Chromatographic Materials; Justin Cooper, Eric Peterson, Joel Harris, University of Utah

Interview with Cooper
Laser Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectrometry - New Dimension of LIBS ; Alexander Bol'shakov1, Richard Russo1,2, Xianglei Mao2, Dale Perry2, Osman Sorkhabi2, Chris McKay31Applied Spectra, Inc., Fremont, CA, 2LBNL, Berkeley, CA, 3NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Interview with Bol'shakov

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