Albert J. R. Heck

Albert J.R. Heck (born November 25, 1964, in Goes, Netherlands) is a Dutch scientist and professor at Utrecht University, the Netherlands in the field of mass spectrometry and proteomics, who was awarded the Spinoza Prize in 2017.

Albert J.R. Heck
Born (1964-11-25) November 25, 1964
Goes, The Netherlands
Alma materUniversity of Amsterdam
Known forProteomics, Native Mass Spectrometry
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics, Chemistry, Biology
InstitutionsUtrecht University, University of Warwick, Stanford University, University of Amsterdam
Doctoral advisorProf.dr. N.M.M. Nibbering


Albert Heck studied chemistry at the VU University in Amsterdam, and received his PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam in 1993. After a postdoctoral period at Stanford University in the lab of Richard Zare and Sandia National Laboratories (Livermore) he became a postdoctoral fellow and later lecturer at University of Warwick. In 1998 he accepted a chair at Utrecht University as head of the Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Group.[1] His group is part of the Departments of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Faculty of Science.[2] Since 2003 Heck is scientific director of the Netherlands Proteomics Centre. From 2006 until 2012 Heck was scientific director of the Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research, and from 2015 to 2018 scientific director of the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Science at Utrecht University.


The research of Albert Heck is focussed on the use of mass spectrometry to study proteins. Within his research group, the two main lines of research are proteomics and native mass spectrometry of proteins and protein complexes. In proteomics, he is most renowned for his work on the analysis of post-translational modification of proteins using mass spectrometry, mainly protein phosphorylation[3] and for the development of novel peptide fragmentation strategies to elucidate site specific post-translational modifications.[4]

His group is among the pioneers of native mass spectrometry to study large protein assemblies and has developed and implemented novel technologies to study protein interactions and the formation of tertiary and quaternary protein structures.[5] Among the complexes that he studied using native mass spectrometry are virus assemblies of up to 18 megadalton [6] and antibodies in complex with other proteins such as their antigens or the complement system.[7]

Albert Heck is closely involved in coordinating access to proteomics infrastructures in Europe. From 2011 to 2015 he was coordinator of PRIME-XS,[8], and since 2019 he coordinates EPIC-XS[9], both collaborative projects funded by the European Union to enable access to proteomics technology for researchers throughout Europe.

Honours and Awards

Heck has received numerous awards and prizes for his scientific contributions. He received the The KNCV golden medal in 2001[10], the Descartes Huygens Award of the Republique France in 2007[11], the Life Science Award of the German Mass Spectrometry Society in 2010 and the UePA Pioneer Proteomics Award in 2014. In 2013, Heck he was awarded the Discovery Award in Proteomic Sciences from HUPO[12] and since 2014 he is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization.[13][14] In 2014, Heck was elected a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[15] In 2017, Heck was awarded the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific distinction in the Netherlands for his "major contribution to the worldwide breakthrough of systematically mapping all proteins in human cells and their biological functions by means of mass spectrometry". [16] The American Chemical Society honoured Albert Heck with the ‘Frank H. Field and Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievements in Mass Spectrometry’ in 2015[17]. In 2018, he received the Sir Hans Krebs Medal of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) and the Thomson Medal Award of the International Mass Spectrometry Society (IMSC)[18].


  1. "Catalogus Professorum: Prof.dr. A.J.R. Heck". UU. Retrieved 2019-11-29.
  2. "Hoogleraren" (in Dutch). Volkskrant. September 5, 2012. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  3. "Moeilijk te vangen fosforgroepen" (in Dutch). Chemisch2Weekblad (C2W) Life Sciences. June 23, 2012.
  4. "Interview - Albert Heck". SharedProteomics. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  5. "Awards - 2013 Recipients". HUPO. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  6. "Grote complexen intact de MS in" (in Dutch). Chemisch2Weekblad (C2W). June 7, 2013.
  7. "Een moleculaire rattenkoning slaat groot immuunalarm" (in Dutch). NRC Handelsblad. March 15, 2014.
  8. Raijmakers, Reinout; Olsen, Jesper V.; Aebersold, Ruedi; Heck, Albert J. R. (2014). "PRIME-XS, a European infrastructure for proteomics". Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. 13 (8): 1901–1904. doi:10.1074/mcp.E114.040162. PMC 4125724. PMID 24958170.
  9. "Proteomics Experts Unite for EPIC-XS". Technology Networks. Mar 22, 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-29.
  10. "Overzicht KNCV Gouden Medaille Winnaars" (in Dutch). KNCV. Retrieved 2019-11-29.
  11. "Descartes-Huygens Prize". KNAW. Retrieved 2019-11-29.
  12. "Most important international proteomics award for Albert Heck". Netherlands Genomics Initiative. October 2, 2013. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  13. "EMBO announces new members for 2013". EMBO. May 21, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  14. "Albert Heck en Ineke Braakman verkozen tot EMBO leden" (in Dutch). Utrecht University. May 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  15. "KNAW kiest zeventien nieuwe leden" (in Dutch). KNAW. May 21, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  16. "NWO Spinoza Prizes awarded to Eveline Crone, Albert Heck, Michel Orrit and Alexander van Oudenaarde". NWO. 6 June 2017. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  17. "Prestigious American Chemical Society awards for Albert Heck and Geert-Jan Boons". UU. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  18. "Professor Albert Heck is to receive two international distinctions". UU. 3 July 2018. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
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