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AIMS is a short-course conducted on-site at Vanderbilt University by Resource faculty and staff. The curriculum typically includes 3.5 days of lectures and hands-on workshops focusing on the practical aspects of MALDI imaging. The course also includes on-site demonstrations of instrumentation by vendor sponsors. This is a unique educational experience in a small group setting that allows participants to network, ask questions of the experts, and get hands-on experience with all aspects of setting up a MALDI imaging experiment.

We have designed the course for mid-level to senior investigators; however, we also provide optional tutorial lectures on mass spectrometry and histology prior to the course for those attendees who may not be as familiar with one of those aspects.

The course is limited to 40 participants.

Due to the novel coronavirus, AIMS.2020 has been cancelled.

In an effort to deal with the new coronavirus, Vanderbilt University has implemented travel restrictions to and from the University, as well as implemented restrictions on large gatherings through April 30.  In addition, the World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic due to the virus, and nation-wide travel restrictions are being considered.  Due to those events, the AIMS course scheduled for April 21-24, 2020 is now cancelled.

While we regret the cancellation of our 9th AIMS course, the health of our Vanderbilt and Nashville communities, as well as for AIMS attendees traveling from various parts of the globe, are of utmost importance.  Thank you for your understanding.

Please check back for updates.


General Curriculum

Sample Preparation

Sectioning fresh frozen and formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues for IMS experiments; implementing washing protocols tailored for different analytes of interest; maximizing compatability among sectioning, washing, coating, and MS platforms

Matrix application

Choosing the best matrix/solvent combination for different analytes of interest;  manual matrix application methods, including spray-coating, sublimation, and recrystallization; and automated matrix deposition methods


Optimizing instrumental parameters for imaging; instrument comparisons for imaging different analytes (low vs high MW, MS or MS/MS, mass resolution, time); interact with leading instrument vendors for on-site instrument demos

Data Processing

Spectral pre- and post-processing, baseline subtraction, normalization; statistical analysis of IMS datasets