Mario Benassi-Neto
1) Which country are you from?
Brazil

2) What did you study?
B.Sc. Chemistry. University of São Paulo (USP). Brazil. 2003.

Doctorate on Organic Chemistry. State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). Brazil. 2010.

PhD Thesis

Title: Wide Ranging method for direct structure assignment of constitutional isomers using pentaquadrupole mass spectrometry. Thomson Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, Chemistry Institute, State University of Campinas, Brazil. Advisor: Dr. Marcos N. Eberlin.

3) What made you choose this field of study?
Chemistry helps us to understand fundamental process is life. It helps us to investigate diseases and unveil their chemical mechanism. This enables us to design and synthesize drugs to fight against them.
To unveil and characterize chemical compounds involved in these processes, Mass Spectrometry comes into play due to its versatility and its sensitivity. That is what attracted me to the field of mass spectrometry. Trained experts in mass spectrometry can make a great difference, helping to investigate mechanism of diseases, especially tropical diseases. Since I am from Brazil, I can helpful to my country where tropical diseases are still a major problem.

4) How did you find to AmbiProbe?
While in Brazil, I was looking for a Postdoctoral position and after consulting with experts in the field of mass spectrometry, the group of Bernhard Spengler was highly regarded as great place for mass spectrometry research. I´ve heard specifically about Ambiprobe after contacting Bernhard Spengler.

5) Which project of AmbiProbe are you working in?
I am involved in projects A3 and C3.

6) What are the objectives of your research project?
For A3 - Implementation and application of a Low Temperature Plasma Probe as an ambient desorption and ionization technique for in-situ analysis.
For C3 - Help with chemical expertise in the software development for mycotoxins identification.

7) Which projects within and also without AmbiProbe are you collaborating with?
Collaboration with the Group of Dr. Rolf-Alexander Düring from the Institute of Soil Science to investigate contaminants in soil using Low Temperature Plasma
Collaboration with the group of  Prof. Dr. Andreas Vilcinskas from the Institute of Phytopathology and Advanced Zoology to investigate chemical compounds desorbed from living insects.

8) What are you currently working on?
Analysis of petroleum crude oil by means of Low temperature plasma and Fourier Transform-Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (FTICR-MS).
Synthesis of derivatives of cinnamic acids to be used as matrices for atmospheric pressure MALDI Imaging.
Analysis of nucleic acids from graphene surfaces by atomospheric pressure Laser Desorption Ionization. (Collaboration with the group of Dr. Kannan Balasubramanian from the Max-Planck Institute in Stuttgart)

9) How does your typical work day look like?
Since I work in different projects, every day is different.
I try to set a work plan for the week. For example, in a week that I am working with Low Temperature Plasma, in the first day we install the source in the mass spectrometer. Then, we align the source and test it sensitivity using chemical standards. After, we tackle the analytical problem. If we are working with crude oil, we have to find the best conditions in the MS to get the highest sensitivity possible and acquire the data for the whole set of samples available. Interpreting the results comes next and, for crude oil, it takes some time, since we look at the most intense signals present in the mass spectra and assign its chemical composition. Once the results are interpreted, the results are shown to the supervisor of the project, in my case Bernhard Spengler. Once he had a look at the results, we discuss what should be the next steps. Either we need more experiments to verify some results or we should start writing a manuscript for publication. 
    
10) What makes your work so thrilling?
The fact that I am always learning something new.

11)  What is your scientific vision?
That science should be used to help mankind.