Lecturers 2018

Here you can find the lecturers of the PAC-Symposium 'Discovery'.

Prof. Dr. Douglas Stephan

Our first plenair lecturer this year will be professor Douglas Stephan! Professor Stephan is a professor at the university of Toronto. He has published more than 470 papers and has received Canadian and international awards, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Society of London and many more.

Professor Stephan researches Frustrated Lewis Pairs, which were discovered by him and his team in 2006. They discovered that simple combinations of Lewis acids and bases designed to avoid acid-base quenching can activate H2. This has led to development of metal-free routes to the addition of hydrogen to a wide range of organic compounds.

Dr. Sylvestre Bonnet

In 2005 Sylvestre Bonnet obtained a PhD on molecular machines at the University of Strasbourg, France. His expertise lies at the crossing point between bioinorganic chemistry, photochemistry, and liposomes.

His current research interests are light-activated anticancer metallodrugs, photocatalysis, and coordination chemistry at lipid bilayers.

Dr. Katrien Keune

Katrien Keune received her degree in Chemistry at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in 2000 and got her PhD degree in Analytical Chemistry in 2005. She is responsible for the scientific research projects in the conservation studios of the Rijksmuseum. Since 2016, she is a guest scientist at the HIMS-UvA and contributes to the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science at a scientific and organizational level.

Prof. Dr. Gadi Rothenberg

Gadi Rothenberg received his BSc in Chemistry magna cum laude from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel in 1993, and his PhD in Applied Chemistry summa cum laude from the same university in 1999.

Since 2008 he is Professor and Chair of Heterogeneous Catalysis & Sustainable Chemistry. He has published two books and over 180 papers in peer-reviewed journals. His textbook “Catalysis: Concepts & Green Applications” is a Wiley-VCH bestseller. He has also invented 16 patents, and co-founded three companies.

Prof. Dr. Marc Koper

Marc Koper is Professor of Surface Chemistry and Catalysis at Leiden University, The Netherlands. He received his PhD degree (1994) from Utrecht University (The Netherlands) with Prof. J.H.Sluyters on a thesis on nonlinear dynamics and oscillations in electrochemistry. His main research interests are in fundamental aspects of electrocatalysis, theoretical electrochemistry, and electrochemical surface science.

Dr. Tiddo Mooibroek

Tiddo Jonathan Mooibroek obtained his bachelor from the ‘Hogeschool Leiden’ in 2005, following both the organic and analytical chemistry tracks. He obtained his master degree in chemistry from the University of Leiden for which he was awarded the ‘Oosterhof award’ in 2007. In 2011 Tiddo defended his PhD thesis in industrial homogeneous catalysis. Tiddo is currently developing supramolecular catalysts for a one-step selective conversion of carbohydrates. He also studies how unorthodox intermolecular interactions manifest themselves in solid state structures.

Dr. Chris Slootweg

Chris Slootweg received his undergraduate education from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2001. After earning his PhD in 2005, he pursued postdoctoral studies at the ETH Zürich. In 2006, he returned to VU to initiate his independent career. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014, and moved to the University of Amsterdam in 2016. The mission of his laboratory is to educate students at the intersection of fundamental physical organic chemistry, main group chemistry and circular chemistry.

Prof. Dr. Bas de Bruin

Bas de Bruin studied chemistry at the University of Nijmegen from 1989-1994. He obtained his Ph. D. (April 20, 1999) from the same university (Rh Mediated Olefin Oxygenation). Bas de Bruin presently focuses at the development of new tools in homogeneous catalysis, using metals in unconventional oxidation states, second coordination sphere effects, supramolecular cages and unconventional ligands.
 Mysteries and tales about vampires are widespread. These mysterious creatures of the night are somehow fascinating. Vampires are sexy, even though you might not survive their bite.
This presentation will deal with the chemistry of blood sucking. Some other fascinating aspects of blood will also be discussed. Interestingly catalysis plays a central role in various biosynthetic processes associated with this bloody theme.

Dr. Stefania Grecea

Dr. Stefania Grecea is Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam. Her group develops synthetic methodologies for target-oriented preparation of inorganic and hybrid inorganic-organic materials. These materials are used in molecular separations and sensing, catalysis and as proton conductive membranes. Dr. Grecea is recipient of several research grants, including a Young Investigator Grant by the Romanian National Research Council, a Romanian Ministry of Education PhD Grant, a European Science Foundation Fellowship, the NWO-Veni and NWO Van Gogh Cooperation grants.

Dr. Sander van Kasteren

Sander van Kasteren obtained his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Oxford, where – under the tutelage of Prof. Benjamin G. Davis, he worked on the site-selective modification of proteins, as well as on the synthesis of imaging agents for inflammation. At present the research in his group is aimed towards understanding the interaction of the immune system with the outside world.
Ultrastructural Imaging of Salmonella-Host Interactions Using Super Resolution Correlative-Light-Electron Microscopy of Bioorthogonal Pathogens. Bioorthogonal chemistry has been a major breakthrough technique in the study the interaction of this host-pathogen interaction. Through hijacking of the cell wall or protein synthesis biosynthetic machinery, so-called bioorthogonal analogues of cell wall components and amino acids have been incorporated into bacteria. These can be selectively chemically ligated using ‘click’-reactions.

Dr. Jörg Meyer

Jörg studied physics in Hannover (Germany) and graduated with distinction in 2006. He moved on to the Fritz-Haber-Institute (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft) for his PhD with Prof. K. Reuter. . In 2010 Jörg relocated to TU München, where he continued some of his PhD work together with Prof. K. Reuter and students as a PostDoc. His time in the Netherlands started in 2014 when he moved to Leiden to work with Prof. G.-J. Kroes on modeling electron-hole pair excitations. In 2015 he was also awarded a NWO-VIDI grant, supporting his research on modeling of energy exchange phenomena at interfaces. Energy conversion at interfaces is at the centre of the rapidly growing field of basic energy science. At the macroscopic scale, engineers routinely employ continuum theories including empirically determined parameters – with (at best) limited atomistic understanding. At the atomic scale, the vibrational lifetime of small adsorbates can provide detailed information about the energy exchange with the surface.

Prof. dr. ir. Ilja Voets

Ilja Voets received an MSc degree in Molecular Sciences from Wageningen University in 2004 and a PhD degree from the same university in 2008 for her research in the field of colloid science on the electrostatically driven co-assembly of block copolymers. After a postdoctoral appointment on the phase behavior of concentrated protein mixtures at the Adolphe Merkle Institute of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, Voets joined the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry and the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS) at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in 2011 to start her independent research group on self-organized and bioinspired soft matter. She was appointed associate professor at TU/e in 2015 and full professor in Self-organizing Soft Matter in 2018.
Ice-binding proteins (IBP) facilitate survival under extreme conditions in diverse life forms. IBPs in polar fishes block further growth of internalized environmental ice and inhibit ice recrystallization of accumulated internal crystals. Algae use IBPs to structure ice, while ice adhesion is critical for the Antarctic bacterium Marinomonas primoryensis.

Prof. dr. Anthony Davis

Tony Davis gained a B.A. in Chemistry from Oxford University in 1977, then stayed on for a D.Phil. under Dr. G. H. Whitham and two years’ postdoctoral work with Prof. J. E. Baldwin. In 1981 he moved to the ETH Zürich as a Royal Society European Exchange Fellow working with Prof. A. Eschenmoser, then in 1982 was appointed as a Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at Trinity College, Dublin. In September 2000 he moved to the University of Bristol, where he is Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry in the School of Chemistry. His research focuses on the development of supramolecular systems with potential for biological applications, especially carbohydrate receptors and transmembrane anion transporters.
The promotion of anion transport across cell membranes is a key objective in supramolecular chemistry. Cation transporters such as Valinomycin and Gramicidin are widely used for biological research, and have powerful biological activity. However, effective counterparts for transporting anions are not yet routinely available. There is particular interest in employing such anionophores as treatments for conditions caused by defective anion channels, notably the widespread genetic disease cystic fibrosis. This lecture will describe our progress towards practical anion transporters based on scaffolds with 1,5-diaxial arrangements of H-bond donor groups.

Dr. Sander Kluwer

“What to do after receiving your MS- or PhD-degree” - A lot of students are struggling with this question. Going for academia, pursuing grants and hoping for a permanent position or go for an industry position?? For most of you, this is a difficult question. But there is another option, start your own business!! A start-up is the most exciting, and rewarding way to use your knowledge and creativity in a science in an entrepreneurial environment. The interaction with top scientists from industry, highly skilled co-workers, lawyers, business, sales, market and patents is a very thrilling mix that makes every day worthwhile.
In this talk I will give you a flavor of what we do at InCatT and which challenges we face in catalysis from a company point of view.

Sprekers 2017

The following Lecturers were present at the PAC-Symposium 2017

Prof. dr. Nicholas Kotov

Prof. dr. Nicholas Kotov
Biointerfaces Institue
University of Michigan

Inorganic nanoparticles (NPs) have the ability to self-organize into variety of structures.  Analysis of experimental data for different types of NPs indicates a general trend of self-assembly under a wider range of conditions and having broader structural variability than self-assembling units from organic matter.  Remarkably, the internal organization of self-assembled NP systems rival in complexity to those found in biology which reflects the biomimetic behavior of nanoscale inorganic matter.  In this talk, I will address the following questions:

  • What are the differences and similarities of NP self-organization compared with similar phenomena involving organic and biological building blocks?
  • What are the forces and related theoretical assumptions essential for NP interactions?
  • What is the significance of NP self-assembly for understanding emergence of life?
  • What are the technological opportunities of NP self-organization?

Self-organization of chiral nanostructures will illustrate the importance of subtle anisotropic effects stemming from collective behavior of NPs and non-additivity of their interactions.   Chirality transfer from circularly-polarized photons to NPs and its relationship to the origin of homochirality on Earth, spontaneous compartmentalization (protocells), and dissipative nanoassemblies. 

Prof. Nicholas A. Kotov, graduated from Moscow State University. His 1990 PhD thesis combined experimental and computational description of photo-induced charge transport at liquid interfaces. He moved to Syracuse University in 1992 and started working on 2D nanoparticle superlattices and layer-by-layer assembly (LBL). After becoming an Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University, he focused on the studies of biomimetic self-organization phenomena at nanoscale.  At the University of Michigan he applies nanoscale assembly phenomena to engineering of new materials.
 Prof. Kotov is a founder of several start-up companies that commercialized nanomaterials for military, biomedical and energy technologies.  He is a recipient of multiple awards including 2017 ACS Colloids and Surfaces Award, 2016 Stephanie Kwolek Award, Fulbright Scholar, UNESCO Medal, MRS Medal, Langmuir Award, and AICHE Stine Award.

Prof. dr. Marcel Swart

Prof. dr. Marcel Swart
Institut de Química Computational i Catàlisi
Universitat de Girona

The chemistry of the first-row transition-metals is highly diverse with a multitude of different reactivity and property patterns. This richness results from the partial occupation of the shell of d-orbitals, which leads to different oxidation and spin states. Of course, having a different number of unpaired electrons has a direct effect on the structure, magnetism, and reactivity of molecules. Especially the spin states remain an enigmatic property that has triggered many studies, and recently the first text-book (Swart/Costas, Wiley) and COST Action (CM1305) devoted entirely to it have appeared.
The majority of these studies is based on experiment, and computational chemistry plays more and more an important role, in giving a description of e.g. spectroscopy or Transition State structures to lead to a deeper understanding. Here I will give an overview of the tools needed and how these can be used for determining oxidation states, and where the proton goes in a high-valent iron(IV)-hydroxo complex.

Marcel Swart obtained his PhD in Groningen (NL) with a study on copper proteins. In subsequent post-doc positions, he worked on iron enzymes and DNA. Since May 2006, he is working at the Institut de Química Computacional i Catàlisi (Univ. Girona, Spain), and was promoted to ICREA Research Professor on September 1, 2009. He has published >130 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals that have been cited ca. 4000 times (Scopus), with a corresponding h-index of 32.
He is Editor for the first text-book on "Spin states in biochemistry and inorganic chemistry" (Wiley, 2015), member of Editorial Board of five international journals, Chair for COST Action CM1305, and since July 2015 Director of the IQCC. He has supervised two PhD theses and four postdocs, and currently is supervising three undergraduate students, six PhD students and two postdocs.
He has been awarded the Young Scientist Excellence Award 2005 by ICCMSE, the MGMS Silver Jubilee Prize in 2012, was selected in 2014 as member of the Young Academy of Europe (YAE), elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2015, and member of the YAE Board in 2016.

Prof. dr. Arno Kentgens

Prof. dr. Arno Kentgens
Institute for Molecules and Materials
Radboud University

Solid-state NMR has developed into a powerful tool for obtaining detailed information about the structure, order and dynamics in functional materials. The high external magnetic fields that have become available for NMR, combined with small diameter fast Magic-Angle Spinning (MAS) rotors, have made it possible to acquire well-resolved NMR spectra of many functional materials ranging from catalysts, bio(-mimetic) polymers, engineering and high-performance plastics, and materielas for energy storage (batteries) and conversion (solar cells).
A major disadvantage of NMR is its relative insensitivity. Therefore we have been pioneering the miniaturization of MAS probes allowing the study of material volumes down to tens of nanoliters. We introduced the stripline geometry which has a favorable sensitivity and scalability for the study of thin films but is also relevant for NMR in a microfluidic context. The sensitivity of NMR experiments can be further increased by transferring polarization from electron spins to the nuclei of interest in the sample. We have developed new approaches towards this so-called Dynamic Nuclear Polarization, in both solids and supercritical liquids. In this lecture these novel methodological developments will be presented with specific applications in various fields of functional materials research.

Arno Kentgens (b. 1959) studied chemistry at the University of Nijmegen. He completed his Ph.D. thesis on the development of two-dimensional solid-state NMR in 1987. This thesis was awarded a prize for Chemistry and Technology of DSM. He then became a staff scientist at the Philips Research Laboratories (1987-1988). From 1988-2000 he was supervisor solid-state NMR of the Dutch National HF-NMR facility. In 2000 he was appointed full professor at Radboud University Nijmegen and heads the solid-state NMR facility for advanced materials science which is part of the uNMR-NL consortium. The focus of his research is the development and application of methods that enable the study of local structure and dynamics of functional materials. This research has resulted in over 160 well-cited (h-index 45) papers. AK has been co-organizer of various national and international NMR meetings, and is member of the international advisory boards of the Canadian and French solid-state NMR facilities. He has been director of the educational institute for molecular sciences and was chairman of the committee responsible for implementing the Bachelor-Master programs of the chemistry, molecular life sciences and general sciences study programs at Radboud University. He currently chairs the educational committee responsible for the PhD program of Netherlands Magnetic Resonance Research School (NMARRS).

Dr. Nathaniel Martin

Dr. Nathaniel Martin
Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery Group
Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Science

One of the major research themes in the Martin group is the development of new classes of (semi)synthetic antibiotics capable of selectively targeting and killing bacterial cells. To do so we apply the tools of both synthetic chemistry and chemical biology to develop novel antimicrobial compounds that interfere with bacterial cell wall biosynthesis. To date we have successfully discovered a number of new compounds that kill bacterial cells via a variety of novel mechanisms. Ongoing work is aimed at optimizing the activity of these “lead compounds” and fully characterizing their modes of action using various biochemical and biophysical techniques. In this lecture a new family of semi-synthetic lipopeptide antibiotics derived from the antimicrobial peptide nisin will be discussed (see figure). These new lipopeptide antibiotics display potent antibacterial activity against vancomycin-resistant bacteria on par with that of currently used last resort antibiotics. The key feature of these semi-synthetic antibiotics is their antibacterial mechanism of action, which is completely different than any clinically used antibiotic. Taken together these compounds are highly promising candidates for further development as new antibiotics capable of overcoming resistance in bacteria.

Nathaniel Martin obtained his PhD degree in 2004 from the University of Alberta. As a PhD student he investigated the structures and modes of action of bacteriocins (bacterially produced antimicrobial peptides). After completing his studies in Alberta he moved to the University of California, Berkeley to pursue postdoctoral studies. In 2007 Martin was awarded an NWO-VENI grant followed by an NWO-VIDI grant in 2010 providing the opportunity to initiate his independent research programme at Utrecht University. In 2016 Martin was awarded the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant allowing him to expand and strengthen his research group. As an associate professor in the Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery group Martin supervises a team of researchers whose interests involve the development of new methods for the synthesis of biologically active peptides and small molecules. These approaches are typically rooted in synthetic chemistry and are broadly applied towards developing new (bio)chemical strategies for addressing a number of biomedical challenges. Work in the Martin ranges from developing new antibiotics for combatting drug-resistant bacteria to developing new inhibitors and molecular tools with which to study epigenetic processes implicated in cancer and other diseases.

Prof. dr. Wybren Jan Buma

Prof. dr. Wybren Jan Buma
Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences
University of Amsterdam

Absorption of light brings molecules into an activated state. From this state radiative processes can occur, but much more interesting are the nonradiative, dark processes in which the photon energy is transformed into other forms such as mechanical and chemical energy. We aim to control these light-to-activity pathways as they allow us to use photon energy to drive targeted applications such as energy conversion, photocatalysis, photon-driven molecular nanotechnology, as well as optogenetics and photopharmacology.
Key to tailoring photoactivity are studies of the potential energy surfaces of electronically excited states. This is not trivial because photoactivity is generally associated with (ultra)fast conversions of energy. Using eye-catchers from molecular nanotechnology, health care, and various areas where photochromic compounds are employed, we have shown in recent years how ‘slow’ spectroscopies can map the excited-state potential energy surfaces and reveal the dynamics that occur on these surfaces. This is exciting as there is a huge amount of photoresponsive systems that so far have been deemed inaccessible because of their short excited-state lifetimes. There is thus still much to be learnt on the dark side of the forces that act upon molecules after light absorption.

Wybren Jan Buma received in 1989 cum laude his PhD degree at Leiden University where he performed research in both Experimental Physics and Theoretical Chemistry. In 1989 he received a fellowship from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) to perform postdoctoral research in the group of Bryan E. Kohler at UC Riverside (USA). In 1991 he was appointed to the faculty of the University of Amsterdam where he became professor by special appointment of the ‘John van Geuns Fonds’ foundation in 2000, and full professor in Molecular Spectroscopy in 2005. In the past decade his work has focused on the application of high-resolution molecular laser spectroscopy in areas that range from astronomy and physics to biology and health sciences. Examples include molecular nanotechnology, photofunctional biological and man-designed materials, but also astrochemistry and medical imaging. A more recent research topic is chiroptical structural analysis, in particular the development of novel methods to study the stereochemistry of chiral molecules. Buma has been member and coordinator of various European Research Networks. In 2008 he was awarded the EU Descartes Prize for Transnational Research as member of the SynNanoMotors team.

Prof. dr. Joost Reek

Prof. dr. Joost Reek
Homogeneous and Supramolecular Catalysis
University of Amsterdam

The interface between supramolecular chemistry and transition metal catalysis has received surprisingly little attention in contrast to the individual disciplines. It provides, however, novel and elegant strategies that lead to new tools for the search of effective catalysts, and as such this has been an important research theme in our laboratories. In this presentation I will focus on supramolecular strategies to control activity and selectivity in transition metal catalysis, which is especially important for reactions that are impossible to control using traditional catalyst development. For substrates with functional groups we use substrate orientation effects to control selectivity, whereas for non-functionalized substrates we create cages around the active transition metal. In addition, the application of a cofactor strategy will be presented, which is also ideally suited for combinatorial approaches. What these strategies have in common is the contribution of the second coordination sphere to the catalytic properties, which is quite different from the traditional ligand effects.

Joost Reek finished his masters at the University of Nijmegen in 1991 and received his PhD in 1996 at the same university. In January 1998 he became lecturer (senior lecturer in 2003) in the group of Prof. P.W.M.N. van Leeuwen at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) were he got experienced with transition metal catalysis. He was appointed as full professor (chair supramolecular catalysis) at the UvA in 2006. In addition he founded the company Cat-fix in 2006 to commercialize some of the inventions in the area of supramolecular catalysis. He launched InCatT (innovative catalyst technologies) as a second spin-off company in 2009. Since 2016 he is the scientific director of NIOK. In 2005 he was elected a young member of Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In 2013 he was elected as a new member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW), and in 2015 he was elected member of the KNAW. In 2016 he was appointed as faculty professor at the University of Amsterdam. With over 300 scientific papers published his H-index is currently 60, and he is currently heading a group of around 40 scientists, developing new concepts for sustainable catalytic processes.

Dr. Maikel Wijtmans

Dr. Maikel Wijtmans
Synthetic medicinal chemistry
VU University Amsterdam

The opportunity to synthesise new molecules and investigate their properties is a very powerful one. The area of medicinal chemistry is well suited for exploring biological properties of novel molecules. Research in our medicinal chemistry laboratories brings together computational modeling, organic synthesis, biochemistry and pharmacology. In this presentation I will summarize the research topics in our group and then proceed to present two detailed case scenarios where the organic synthesis of novel molecules led to key pharmacological insights that are still being built upon in our laboratories today. I will end with a brief overview of e-learning approaches in (medicinal) chemistry education that we have been developing.

Dr. Maikel Wijtmans studied chemistry at Radboud University Nijmegen, where he graduated in synthetic organic chemistry in August 1998. He subsequently worked at DSM Research as a temporary researcher on biocatalysis and organic oxidants until June 1999. Thereafter he moved to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, USA where he started his PhD research on organic ligands for nanocrystals and on the development of novel antioxidants. After completion of his PhD work in 2003, he returned to the Netherlands where he joined the Division of Medicinal Chemistry at VU University Amsterdam as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2009, he was appointed assistant professor of synthetic medicinal chemistry. His current research interests involve the design and synthesis of compounds that are of interest in biological contexts, most notably in the areas of G protein-coupled receptors and fragment-based drug discovery. In 2013, he received the national KNCV chemistry teaching award (awarded every three years to a teacher from academia).

Prof. dr. Wim Nieuwpoort

Prof. dr. Wim Nieuwpoort
Theoretical Chemistry
University of Groningen

Theoretical chemistry as we know it today i.e. mainly computational chemistry came to life in the late fifties of the last century. More or less by chance I took part in this development, working at Purdue not far from the University of Chicago. There the first steps onto the path of ab initio calculations of the electronic structure of molecules by means of electronic computers were set by Roothaan and students, encouraged by Robert Mulliken, Nobel-prize winner in Chemistry 1966. Their early knowledge and codes enabled me to set up a computational investigation of the concept of back-bonding in metal-carbonyls from first principles. The successful completion, 4(!) years later, of this project marked the first ab initio treatment of a transition-metal compound. I will recall some details about this work that explain why it took so long to complete it in comparison with what one can do today.
These early experiences have determined to a large extent most of my later scientific and organizational work. Nevertheless I hope to find the time to mention other work as well, in particular that carried out in the fruitful environment of the Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven.

Willem C. Nieuwpoort studied at the University of Amsterdam from 1953-1959, majoring in Chemistry with Theoretical Physics as minor. After his doctoral exam in 1959 he went to the USA doing research in quantum chemistry with the help of Jim Richardson at Purdue University and of Clemens Roothaan and students at the University of Chicago. He returned to The Netherlands in 1962 to join the ranks of the Philips Research Laboratory in Eindhoven. From 1968 until his mandatory retirement in 1996 he occupied the chair in Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Groningen. After his retirement he stayed on to supervise his last two students and to finish his final term as chairman of the Zernike Institute of Advanced Materials. As emeritus professor he stayed active in various capacities such as chairing the Bernoulli Institute of Mathematics and Informatics for 10 years and supervising a five-year Computational Science program of NWO, the Netherlands Research Organization .
He was the founder in 1967 of the Quantum Theoretical Chemistry Section funded by the Netherlands Foundation for Chemical Research (SON) and in 1984 of the National Computing Facility, both under the auspices of the Netherlands Research Organization (NWO). In 2010 the National Computing Center SARA and the National Research Organization NWO instituted jointly a substantial yearly award, the Wim Nieuwpoort Award.

Prof. dr. Elisabeth Bouwman

Prof. dr. Elisabeth Bouwman
Leiden Institute of Chemistry
Leiden University

Many bulk chemicals, such as nylon or glues, are currently produced using stoichiometric chemistry; for example in the production of 1 kg of nylon more than 4 kg of by-products is formed. An important goal in our research is to understand the relation between the structures and the catalytic properties of metal coordination compounds. This understanding we use to develop sustainable, atom-efficient catalytic reactions that in the future may replace current stoichiometric industrial processes. One challenging topic is for instance: can we develop a new catalytic reaction to make nylon using biomass as a feedstock instead of fossil fuels? In this lecture I will describe the new catalytic reactions that we developed for the conversion of bio-based levulinic acid to caprolactam, the starting material for nylon.

Elisabeth Bouwman received her Ph.D. degree in 1990 at Leiden University. She carried out postdoctoral research at the TU Delft and in the USA at Indiana University in Bloomington. With a fellowship of the KNAW she then developed her own research line in Leiden, where she is now head of the group “Metals in Catalysis, Biomimetics & Inorganic Materials”. Her research interests comprise both fundamental and applied aspects of coordination and organometallic chemistry. Her aim in this research is to understand the relation between the ligand and metal-complex structures and the catalytic properties at the molecular level.
The main objective in the catalytic studies is the development of new, atom-efficient reactions that can replace major existing industrial segments. The catalytic conversion of biomass to bulk chemicals is a special topic of consideration.

Sam Geschiere MSc

Sam Geschiere MSc
Department of Functional Ingredients
TNO Zeist

My Name is Sam Geschiere. I graduated from the Technical University of Delft as a Chemical Process engineer. I finished my degree with an internship at Akzo Nobel in the UK, where I was responsible for the quality control and worked on the process optimization. After graduating I started working at TNO within the department of Functional Ingredients. The focus of this department is food science. Within the department I’m part of the physica and application team. I’m and expert in rheology, calorimetry and texture analysis. Besides characterization I work on the development of 3D printing of food. This involves designing of recipes, print design, print files and optimizing the print settings.

Dr. Enrico Pajer

Dr. Enrico Pajer
Theoretical Physics (IFT)
Utrecht University

Have you ever taken an object apart to see how it works? For conventional objects, you can certainly use conventional tools. But what if the object in question is as small as a subatomic particle, as big as the universe, as fast as light or as ephemeral as the fabric of spacetime? I will discuss the tools of the mind that are routinely used by scientists to explore the ever growing frontiers of knowledge. These tools are grounded in logical and critical thinking and powered by curiosity and imagination. Flying over a century of scientific discoveries, I will land on the recent detection of gravitational waves, and show how it will reshape our picture of the universe and perhaps lead us to understand the nature of spacetime.

Alumnus of the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, Dr. Enrico Pajer has received his PhD from LMU Munich and has worked at Cornell and Princeton Universities. Since 2014, Enrico is Assistant Professor of Theoretical Physics at Utrecht University and a member of the Delta-ITP. Enrico's major contributions have been within the field of cosmology, namely the study of the constituents of universe, their properties and their evolution in time.
Enrico has played a crucial role in the construction of explicit and realistic models of the first fraction of a second after the big bang, within the context of string theory, the leading candidate for a unification of gravity and quantum mechanics to arbitrary high energies. The predictions of his models are been currently compared with the latest cosmological observations. In 2012, Enrico proposed a new way to extract information from the oldest light in the universe, the so-called Cosmic Microwave Background. His approach will lead the most accurate information on the fundamental physical interactions at energies much higher than those achievable on earth. In his most recent work, Enrico has developed a consistent and accurate framework based on hydrodynamics to study the distribution of matter in the universe.

Prof. dr. ir. Krijn de Jong

Prof. dr. ir. Krijn de Jong
Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis
Utrecht University

The increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are mainly due to the use of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – which is of growing concern related to climate change. The burning of fossil fuels currently brings about a CO2 emission of about 30 billion tons per annum. In this lecture I will present the associated energy consumption and global variations thereof.
The road towards clean energy, i.e. energy that does not give rise to CO2 emissions, is a bumpy one in view of the scale of current energy consumption and the wide variation in end use. A number of options to clean energy are put forward: CO2 capture and storage, CO2 conversion into fuels and chemicals using H2, more efficient energy use, and use of renewable energy sources (wind, solar). It will become clear that some of these options make more sense than others.
Recently it was suggested that increasing prosperity and reduced CO2 emissions can go hand in hand which is challenged by others. Data will be shown to support the latter view.

Krijn P. de Jong received his BSc (1976), MSc (1978) and PhD (1982) in chemistry, all degrees cum laude at Utrecht University. In 1987 he obtained an MSc degree in chemical engineering from Twente University. From 1982-1997 he was with Shell Research working on catalyst preparation, heavy oil conversion, environmental processes, zeolite catalysis and synthesis gas production and conversion. In 1997 he was appointed as professor of inorganic chemistry and catalysis at Utrecht University. His research interests are catalyst synthesis, electron tomography of nanostructured catalysts, hydrocarbon conversions over zeolites, catalysts for liquid-phase catalysis, conversion of synthesis gas to fuels and chemicals and hydrogen storage. He has published about 250 scientific papers and 30 patents. He was the Scientific Director of the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science of Utrecht University and is currently Vice-Head of the Department of Chemistry. He has received amongst others the Unilever Chemistry Award in 1977, Shell Patent Awards in 1987 and in 1991, an NWO TOP Research Grant in 2008, the Award for Excellence in Natural Gas Conversion in 2013, an ERC Advanced Grant in 2013 and he was elected as member of the European Academy of Sciences in 2015.

Dr. Katalin Barta

Dr. Katalin Barta
Stratingh Institute for Chemistry
University of Groningen

The catalytic depolymerization of lignin into well-defined aromatic chemicals is a highly attractive goal. Our research focused first on simple, acid catalyzed cleavage of lignin model compounds comprising the β-O-4 linkage. A specific, C2-aldehyde product was identified as main cause of side reactions under these reaction conditions. In situ stabilization of this aldehyde in the form of its ethylene glycol acetal, or by catalytic hydrogenation and decarbonylation, lead to distinct classes of aromatic compounds in good yield. When lignin was used, the products matched those identified by model studies and the formation of higher molecular weight side products was suppressed. The reactivity of advanced model compounds, and the fate of the β-β, and β-5 linkages was studied in detail and correlated to the reactivity of lignin.
Notably, further extending the method to lignin, especially Fe(OTf)3 proved very effective leading to an excellent yield of the phenolic C2 acetal products.

Katalin Barta studied chemistry at ELTE Budapest, Hungary and carried out master’s research in alternative solvents in the group of István T. Horváth. Her PhD with Walter Leitner at RWTH-Aachen, Germany, focused on asymmetric catalysis and ligand design. During post-doctoral research (2008-2010) with Prof. Peter Ford at UCSB she worked on the conversion of renewable resources with homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts. After she was Associate Research Scientist (2010-2012) at Yale University, the Center for Green Chemistry and Engineering (New Haven, USA) with Prof. P. T. Anastas where she worked on catalytic conversion of renewable resources, with special focus on lignin valorization. Since 2013, she is tenure track Assistant professor at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry, of the University of Groningen. She is the Secretary and Dutch representative of the EuChemSoc division in Green and Sustainable Chemistry. Her group participates in several national and international networks in lignin valorization.
Combining various fields, Katalin Barta’s research interests are broadly in Sustainable and Green Chemistry, focusing on the development of novel homogeneous and heterogeneous catalytic strategies for the conversion of renewables utilizing earth abundant metals. Research lines range from homogeneous iron catalysis, including asymmetric catalysis, lignin valorization, and conversion of cellulose derived platform chemicals.

Prof. dr. Célia Fonseca Guerra

Prof. dr. Célia Fonseca Guerra
Applied Theoretical Chemistry
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

For the explanation of chemical phenomena, chemists quite often rely on old concepts as Lewis structures or on very rudimentary, and therefore often misleading, molecular orbital theory, which explains chemical bonds exclusively with stabilizing donor-acceptor and/or electron-pair bonding interactions between frontier orbitals. However, occupied frontier orbitals also contribute via a repulsive interaction, which is a manifestation of the Pauli exclusion principle. This quantum chemical phenomenon can overrule the attractive electrostatics and charge-transfer interactions and become decisive for the chemistry that we observe. In this presentation, quantum chemical investigations are presented with evidence for the importance of the Pauli repulsion in three different well-known chemical observations, namely: the direction of electrophilic aromatic substitution in benzene, the optical properties of naphthalenediimides and the hydrogen bonds between the mismatched DNA base pairs Guanine-Guanine and Cytosine-Cytosine.

Célia Fonseca Guerra graduated cum laude in Chemistry at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 1993, with specializations in Theoretical Chemistry, Chemical Informatics and Quantum Mechanics (Physics). Subsequently, she performed her PhD research in the group of professors E. J. Baerends and J. G. Snijders on the development and implementation of parallel and order-N DFT methods. During her post-doc, the focus of her research became computational biochemistry and the development and implementation of methods for analyzing electronic structure and chemical bonding. She has been a visiting scientist at the Cornell Theory Center (USA), the computational chemistry group of Girona University (Spain) and held a European Visiting Professorship at Warsaw University of Technology (Poland).
In 2012, she was appointed Assistant Professor at the Vrije Universiteit and in that same year, she was awarded the Dutch NWO Aspasia prize for excellent female researchers. Her research lines span from molecular recognition to supramolecular chemistry. In 2017, she was appointed extraordinary Professor of Applied Theoretical Chemistry at Leiden University.