Michael L. Gross (chemist)

Michael L. Gross (born 1940) is Professor of Chemistry, Medicine, and Immunology, at Washington University in St. Louis. He was formerly Professor of Chemistry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1968–1994. He is recognized for his contributions to the field of mass spectrometry and ion chemistry. He is credited with the discovery of distonic ions, chemical species containing a radical and an ionic site on different atoms of the same molecule.[1][2]

Michael L. Gross
Alma materUniversity of Minnesota
Known formass spectrometry
Scientific career
InstitutionsWashington University


Working with colleagues at the Environmental Protection Agency, he validated the part-per-trillion analysis of 2378-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin in biological tissues, perhaps the first validation of an ultra-trace analytical chemistry method.[3] With this method, he and his coworkers found this highly toxic compound in the tissue of veterans of the Vietnam War,[4] a controversial observation that was later validated by scientists at the Center for Disease Control.

In 1978, he became Director of a National Science Foundation Center for Mass Spectrometry at Nebraska. Under the aegis of the NSF, he commissioned the first commercial triple sector tandem mass spectrometer.[5] With this instrumentation, his coworkers and he sequenced the first unknown peptide using soft ionization and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS).[6] They also discovered a new class of fragmentation of gas-phase ions later termed "charge-remote fragmentation."[7] and applied it to a wide variety of compounds including fatty acids, lipids, surfactants, steroids, and peptides. An expanded four-sector version was employed to insert noble gas atoms in C-60 and other fullerenes[8] and a second noble gas atom in synthetic fullerenes already containing a noble gas atom.[9]

In the late 1970s, Charles Wilkins and Gross built the second Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer and were the first to use it for analytical applications. Notable were the demonstrations of GC/MS,[10] laser desorption,[11] gas pulsing,[12] multiphoton ionization,[13] and the development of calibration law for accurate mass measurement.[14] More recently, Don Rempel and he described an electrically compensated FTICR trap to improve mass resolving power.[15]

Education, awards, editing

Gross received his B.A. from Saint John's University, Minnesota (1962), and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1966). He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania (ER Thornton) and Purdue University (FW McLafferty). For his research contributions, he received the Field and Franklin Award, American Chemical Society (1999), the Midwest Award, ACS (2002), and the JJ Thomson Medal, Int'l Foundation for Mass Spectrometry (2006). He is co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Mass Spectrometry and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry since its founding in 1990. Prior to that appointment, he served as editor of Mass Spectrometry Reviews.


Gross has authored and coauthored over 500 papers and book chapters. He was recognized as 50 Most Cited Chemists Institute for Scientific Information, 1984-1991.[16] He was recognized in 2010 as the 356th most cited of living chemists.


  1. Gross, Michael L; McLafferty, FW (1971). "Identification of C3H6+ Structural Isomers by Ion Cyclotron Resonance Spectroscopy". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 93 (5): 1267–1268. doi:10.1021/ja00734a043.
  2. Gross, Michael L (1972). "An Ion Cyclotron Resonance Study of the Structure of C3H6+ and the Mechanism of its Reaction with Ammonia". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 94 (11): 3744–3748. doi:10.1021/ja00766a013.
  3. Gross, Michael L; T. Sun; P.A. Lyon; S.F. Wojinski; D.R. Hilker; A.E. Dupuy Jr; R.G. Heath (1981). "Method Validation Study for Analysis of Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD) at the Low Parts-Per-Trillion Level". Analytical Chemistry. 53 (12): 1902–1906. doi:10.1021/ac00235a600. PMID 7294356.
  4. Gross, Michael L; J.O. Lay Jr; P.A. Lyon; D. Lippstreu; N. Kangas; R.L. Harless; S.E. Taylor; A.E. Dupuy Jr (1984). "2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin Levels in Adipose Tissue of Vietnam Veterans". Environmental Research. 33 (1): 261–268. doi:10.1016/0013-9351(84)90022-7. PMID 6692811.
  5. Gross, Michael L; E.K. Chess; P.A. Lyon; F.W. Crow; S. Evans; H. Tudge (1982). "Triple Analyzer Mass Spectrometry for High Resolution MS/MS Studies". International Journal of Mass Spectrometry and Ion Physics. 42 (4): 243–254. doi:10.1016/0020-7381(82)80069-7.
  6. Gross, Michael L; D. McCrery; F. Crow; K.B. Tomer; M.R. Pope; L.M. Ciuffetti; H.W. Knoche; J.M. Daly; L.D. Dunkle (1982). "Structure of the Toxin from Helminthsporium Carbonum". Tetrahedron Letters. 23: 5381–5384. doi:10.1016/0040-4039(82)80135-4.
  7. Gross, Michael L; K.B. Tomer; F.W. Crow (1983). "Location of Double Bond Position in Unsaturated Fatty Acids by Negative Ion MS/MS". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 105 (16): 5487–5488. doi:10.1021/ja00354a055.
  8. Gross, Michael L; K.A. Caldwell; D.E. Giblin; C.S. Hsu; D. Cox (1991). "Endohedral Complexes of Fullerene Radical Cations". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 113 (22): 8519–8521. doi:10.1021/ja00022a048.
  9. Gross, Michael L; D.E. Giblin; M. Saunders; H. Jimenez-Vazquez; R J. Cross (1997). "Incorporation of Helium into Endohedral Complexes of C60 and C70 Containing Noble-Gas Atoms: A Tandem Mass Specttrometry Study". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 119 (41): 9883–9890. doi:10.1021/ja971104l.
  10. Gross, Michael L; E.B. Ledford Jr; R.L. White; S. Ghaderi; C.L. Wilkins (1980). "Coupling of Capillary Gas Chromatography and Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometer". Analytical Chemistry. 52 (14): 2450–2451. doi:10.1021/ac50064a056.
  11. Gross, Michael L; D.A. McCrery; E.B. Ledford Jr (1982). "Laser Desorption Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry". Analytical Chemistry. 54 (8): 1435–1437. doi:10.1021/ac00245a040.
  12. Gross, Michael L; T.M. Sack (1983). "Pulsed Valve Interface For Gas Chromatography/Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry". Analytical Chemistry. 55 (14): 2419–2421. doi:10.1021/ac00264a049.
  13. Gross, Michael L; T.M. Sack; D.A. McCrery (1985). "Gas Chromatography/Multiphoton Ionization Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry". Analytical Chemistry. 57 (7): 1290–1295. doi:10.1021/ac00284a027. PMID 4037318.
  14. Gross, Michael L; E.B. Ledford Jr; D.L. Rempel (1984). "Space Charge Effects in Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry.II". Analytical Chemistry. 56 (14): 2744–2748. doi:10.1021/ac00278a027. PMID 6524653.
  15. Gross, Michael L; Adam M. Brustkern; Don L. Rempel (2008). "An Electrically Compensated Trap Designed to Eight Order for FT-ICR Mass Spectrometry". Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. 19 (9): 1281–1285. doi:10.1016/j.jasms.2008.05.016. PMC 2597068. PMID 18599306.
  16. "The World's 50 Most Cited Chemists Ranked by Total Citations, 1984-91". Science Watch. 3 (4). May 1992.


  • Ed., High Performance Mass Spectrometry: Chemical Applications, American Chemical Society Symposium Series, 70, 1978, 358 pp.
  • Ed., Mass Spectrometry in the Biological Sciences: A Tutorial, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 1992, 451 pp.
  • Joint Ed., Biological Mass Spectrometry Present and Future, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, 653 pp.
  • Joint Ed., Applied Electrospray Mass Spectrometry, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 2002, 434 pp.
  • Joint Ed., "Biological Applications. Part A: Peptides and Proteins," Encyclopedia of Mass Spectrometry, Vol 2, Elsevier, 2005, 435 pp.
  • Joint Ed., Ionization Methods, Encyclopedia of Mass Spectrometry, Vol 6, Elsevier, 2007, 1007 pp.
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