With the rapid advance of MS-based proteomics one might think that 2D gel-based proteomics is dead. This is far from the truth. Current research has shown that there are still a number of places in the field of protein and molecular biology where 2D gels still play a leading role. The aim of this review is to highlight some of these applications. Examples from our own research as well as from other published works are used to illustrate the 2D gel driven research in the areas of: 1) de novo sequencing and protein identification from organisms with no or incomplete genome sequences available; 2) alternative detection methods for modification specific proteomics; 3) identification of protein isoforms and modified proteins. With an example of the glycoprotein TIMP-1 protein we illustrate the unique properties of 2D gels for the separation and characterisation of multiply modified proteins. We also show that careful analysis of experimental and theoretical protein mass and pI can lead to the identification of unanticipated protein variants modified by for example proteolytic cleavage. Together this shows that there is an important niche for 2D gel-based proteomics, which compliments traditional LC-MS techniques for specific protein research purposes. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: New Horizons and Applications for Proteomics [EuPA 2012].