Marcel Golay & Leslie Ettre Awards

Marcel Golay

The Marcel Golay Award was instituted in honor of Marcel Jules Eduard Golay, the inventor of capillary columns. Dr. Golay, one of the pioneers of gas chromatography, introduced the theory of dispersion in open tubular columns (capillary columns) and demonstrated their efficacy at the second International Symposium on Gas Chromatography in 1958. Dr. Golay joined PerkinElmer in 1962 as a senior scientist, and invented the Golay infrared sensor, which, at the time was the most sensitive infrared sensor available. Golay's invention helped establish PerkinElmer as a major source of infrared technology. He also extended the theory of preparative columns and examined the properties of various chromatography sampling systems. The open tubular gas chromatography column is the most popular analytical gas chromatography column in use today. Dr. Golay worked as a senior scientist at PerkinElmer up until his death in 1989. The Marcel Golay award is presented to a scientist in recognition of a lifetime of achievement in capillary chromatography.

2016 Golay Award Winner

The 2016 Marcel Golay Award was presented to Professor Robert E. Synovec of the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, at the 40th International Symposium of Capillary Chromatography held in Riva del Garda, Italy, in May. Professor Synovec was selected by the award committee, chaired by Professor Milos Novotny, Indiana University, for his pioneering work in the development of capillary chromatography, specifically in the areas of complex mixture analysis, multidimensional chromatography instrumentation design, and chemometrics uses for analytical separations.

Robert Synovec has over 230 publications (including 24 invited book chapters and reviews), and over 530 research presentations that include over 210 invited lectures. The following is the reproduced abstract for his award lecture entitled “Multidimensional GC with Chemometrics: Distilling Information from Complex Samples.”

“GC/TOF MS and GC x GC – TOF MS have emerged as powerful chemical separation platforms for the analysis of complex samples. Advances come in many arenas: implementing separations theory to provide insight into how to produce better separations, instrumentation development, chemometric software development for data analysis, and addressing existing and emerging challenges for important applications. I will discuss how advances in each of these arenas couple with, and contribute to, advances in the other arenas. Our instrumentation developments for high efficiency GC and GC x GC are aimed at theoretically understanding how to optimize peak capacity production, and then experimentally producing data with the optimized performance. With GC x GC – TOF MS, our efforts in developing and applying chemometric data analysis tools are aimed at utilizing the software tools to glean useful information from complex data sets driven by the experimental design. Notably, we have developed discovery-based software and deconvolution software for key applications such as metabolomics, forensics, and fuel analyses. With GC/TOF MS, we are beginning to explore new ways to visualize the data to substantially enhance the apparent peak capacity, and to improve the application of chemometric software for deconvolution. Recent developments in emerging instrumental platforms beyond GC and GC x GC to increase the generation of useful chemical information will also be provided.”

Professor Synovec has been a pioneer in bridging the fields of multidimensional capillary separations coupled with chemometric data analysis, which has had a tremendous impact on broadening the scope and impact of the capillary separations field. His research group has broad interests in the areas of traditional analytical chemistry, bioanalytical chemistry and process analytical chemistry, centered upon fundamental studies and applications of separation science. Primarily, the group performs research in the areas of gas chromatography and liquid chromatography instrumentation, sensors, analytical methodology, chemical measurement science and multivariate chemometric data analysis. The group seeks to find a better fundamental understanding of the right balance of chemical separation and mathematical separation/modeling to optimally glean the desired chemical information from analytical separation data. We complement our interest in developing and applying novel instrumentation and chemometrics software with a deep interest in modeling the separation processes based upon theory.  Our theoretical modeling has provided fundamental insight and guidance for instrumentation design improvements. Notable chemometric advances introduced to the capillary separations community by Synovec and his research group have been deconvolution tools such as parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC), and discovery-based software such as Fisher Ratio analysis. The Synovec group has been a world leader in the implementation of state-of-the-art separations technology and chemometric software in many exciting areas such as metabolomics, forensics, petroleum-based fuels, biofuels and environmental systems.

Previous Marcel Golay Award Winners


Daniel Armstrong

University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA



Tyge Greibrokk

University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway



Robert Kennedy

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA



Paul Haddad

University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay TAS, Australia



Marcel Golay

The Leslie Ettre Award was established in 2008 in honor of the late Leslie S. Ettre who worked at PerkinElmer for 32 years and made major contributions to gas chromatography (GC), including writing and editing over 40 books and almost 400 articles and papers. Ettre retired from PerkinElmer as Senior Scientist in 1990 but remained active in the science community as a professor and research fellow with the Chemical Engineering Department at Yale University for 16 years. He was a member of a number of editorial boards and continued to publish papers up until his death in June 2010.

The Leslie Ettre award is presented to a scientist 35 years old or younger who presented the most interesting original research in capillary gas chromatography with an emphasis on environmental and food safety. The winner of this award receives a research grant of $2,500, a $500 travel contribution to attend the next ISCC meeting and free registration at the next meeting. The winner is also invited to give an oral presentation at the next ISCC meeting. The jury for the award is chaired by Ruben Garnica, Gas Chromatography Product Manager for PerkinElmer, and includes several prominent scientists and previous award winners.

2016 Ettre Award Winner

The 2016 Leslie S. Ettre Award was presented to Cecelia Cagliero, a graduate student at the University of Torino, for her presentation on the measurement of acrylamide in coffee powders using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Her presentation was entitled Determination of Acrylamide in Roasted Coffee Powders and Brews at Trace Level by Solid Phase Microextraction with Polymeric Ionic Liquid-Based Fibers and GM/MS. See below for more information on her contribution.


Acrylamide is an unsaturated amide formed when carbohydrate-rich foods are subjected to high temperatures during cooking or thermal processing. The toxicological properties of acrylamide include neurotoxicity, genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, and reproductive toxicity. The roasting of coffee beans, in particular when light roasted, produces acrylamide levels that are among the highest of any food products, although lower levels can be expected due to dilution within coffee beverages [1]. Coffee is a complex matrix given the large number of analytes, and the analysis of acrylamide presents considerable challenges because of its low molecular weight, high reactivity, lack of chromophore(s) and diagnostic ions. Established ISO methods [2] employ SPE-HPLC-MS-MS in an effort to perform its preconcentration, separation and identification. However, this methodology is time consuming and cannot easily be automated. An alternative to HPLC is GC/MS; however, most GC/MS methods require acrylamide preconcentration and derivatization.

This study describes a simple and rapid sampling and analysis method employing a polymeric ionic liquid (PIL) sorbent coating in direct immersion solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and GC/MS for the analysis of acrylamide at trace-level in coffee brew and powder. A number of crosslinked PIL sorbent coatings [3] have been tested showing superior sensitivity in the extraction of acrylamide compared to the commercially available SPME coatings. Ninhydrin was employed as a quenching reagent during extraction to prevent the neo-formation of acrylamide in the GC inlet due to asparagine and glucose co-extraction from the coffee matrix. The PIL fibers produce a limit of quantitation for acrylamide in the ppb range achieving results comparable to the ISO method. Given the SPME versatility and capability of automation and the popularity of GC/MS, this method provides a new route for trace-level determination of acrylamide in coffee brew and powder.


[1] EFSA CONTAM Panel, EFSA J. 13 (2015) 4104
[2] European Standard EN 16618:2015 Food analysis - Determination of acrylamide in food by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS)
[3] Ho T.D. et al., Anal. Chim. Acta 843 (2014) 18

Previous Leslie Ettre Award Winners


Sander Jespers

Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, Belgium



Kari L. Organtini

Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, USA



Dr. Anastasiia Kanatyeva

Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia



Dr. Danilo Sciarrone

University of Messina, Messina, Italy



Ms. Dan Li

Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA