Lectures 2021

Here you can find this year's lectures and subject of their talks.

Prof. dr. M. Stanley Whittingham

Prof. dr. M. Stanley Whittingham

Binghamton University

Stanley Whittingham is a SUNY distinguished professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering at Binghamton and the 2019 Chemistry Nobel Laureate. He received his BA and D Phil degrees in chemistry from Oxford University, where he is an honorary Fellow of New College. He has been active in Li-batteries since 1971 when he won the Young Author Award of the Electrochemical Society for his work on beta-alumina. In 1972, he joined Exxon and discovered the role of intercalation in battery reactions, which resulted in the first commercial lithium rechargeable batteries that were built by Exxon Enterprises. In 1988 he returned to academia at SUNY Binghamton to initiate a program in materials chemistry. In 2018 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering and received the Turnbull Award from MRS. He is a Fellow of the Materials Research Society.


His lecture will be about the lithium-ion batteries and their role in enabling the large-scale introduction of renewable energy. Talking about the opportunities and technical challenges which will need to be overcome to further advance the technology.

Prof. dr. Anouk M. Rijs

Prof. dr. Anouk M. Rijs

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Anouk Rijs is full professor of Analytics of Biomolecular Interactions in the BioAnalytical Chemistry Division at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She is an expert on IR action spectroscopy combined with mass spectrometry for structural characterization of biomolecules such as peptides, proteins and carbohydrates. Recently, she was awarded an NWO-VICI grant by which she aims to unravel and ultimately control the protein aggregation mechanism of neurodegenerative diseases using mass spectrometry hyphenated with IR spectroscopy and ion mobility.

Moreover, in collaboration with the Amsterdam University Medical Center and the University of Manchester, she works on the identification of biomarkers for Parkinson’s Disease. In addition, she is a board-member of the NWO Fundamentals and Methods in Chemistry research community, physics board-member at the Lorentz Center, member of the advisory board of Analysis and Sensing (Chemistry Europe, Wiley) and Deputy Chair of the journal “Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics” (PCCP) of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Her lecture will deal the analysation of peptide and protein aggregation, the process where soluble functioning proteins turn into insoluble amyloid aggregates. The unavoidble build-up of these aggregates is directly linked to age-related, neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Currently there is not much known about the early-steps of this process, as there are no analytical methods which allows us to probe the aggregation process. Therefore, the use of IR spectroscopy as possible structural probe in mass spectrometry will be discussed. Combined with other methods, the aim is to elucidate and visualize the early stages of aggregating peptides, and ultimately direct their self-assembly process.

Prof. dr. Sylvestre A. Bonnet

Prof. dr. Sylvestre A. Bonnet

Universiteit Leiden

Sylvestre Bonnet is Full Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry at Leiden University. He obtained his PhD in 2005 at the University of Strasbourg, France, in the group of Nobel Laureate Jean-Pierre Sauvage. He then moved to The Netherlands as a postdoc, where he successively worked in the groups of Gerard van Koten (Utrecht), Jan Reedijk (Leiden), and Antoinette Killian and Bert Klein Gebbink (Utrecht). Between 2009 and 2014 he completed a Tenure Track position in Inorganic Chemistry at Leiden University, where he was tenured in 2015 and became full professor in 2020. He obtained several prestigious grants, including a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (2013), and three young investigator grants (VENI 2008, VIDI 2012, VICI 2019) from the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Since 2015 he is Fellow of the Young Academy of Europe, and in 2017 he became YAE Board Member. His expertise lies at the crossing point between bioinorganic chemistry, photochemistry, and lipid membranes. His current research interests are anticancer photoactivated chemotherapy, supramolecular photocatalysis, and upconversion.

Traditionally, photochemists prepare new molecules to study their photochemical properties, just because they like it. However, when photoactive molecules are meant for phototherapeutic purposes, it becomes very relevant for a chemist to also ask oneself in which biological model these molecules should be tested, and for which disease exactly these molecules should be tested. His lecture will deal with his journey as a photochemist in the world of anticancer phototherapy and how this journey has pushed him to develop his knowledge way beyond chemistry, towards biology, cancer models, and oncology. He will first describe the photochemistry of the compounds developed in my group, then discuss the different in vitro cancer models they have used to test them, and finally their efforts to show activity in vivo, as the first steps towards clinical trials.

Dr. J. Chris Slootweg

Chris Slootweg

Dr. J. Chris Slootweg

Universiteit van Amsterdam

Chris Slootweg was born in Haarlem (The Netherlands) in 1978 and received his undergraduate education from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2001. After earning his Ph.D. in 2005 under the supervision of Prof. Koop Lammertsma, he pursued postdoctoral studies at the ETH Zürich with Peter Chen. 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 at the UvA is to educate students at the intersection of fundamental physical organic chemistry, main-group chemistry, and circular chemistry.

In this lecture, He will highlight the importance of using waste as resource as well as stress the need to develop Circular Technologies, which use chemistry as enabling tool, to target the conservation of critical raw materials (element scarcity) as well as contribute to solving pressing waste problems. Such an endeavor will combine molecular design and synthesis with the environmental fate and impact of current products targeting safe by design (no persistent, bio-accumulative, and toxic compounds; green chemistry) and design for re-use, recovery and recycling (circular chemistry). He will detail his lab's bottom-up physical (in)organic chemistry approach to develop novel chemical conversions using one-electron processes that aim at using dinitrogen and methane as resource. 

Lecturers 2020

Here you can find the lecturers of the PAC-Symposium 'Next Level':

Prof. dr. Sason Shaik

University of Jeruzalem

Sason Shaik is a Saerree K. and Louis P. Fiedler Professor of Chemistry at the Hebrew University, whose main interests are in bonding, chemical reactivity, metalloenzymes, oxidation and reduction by transition metal complexes, and electric field effects in chemistry. Alongside a variety of computational tools, he uses valence bond theory as a conceptual frame. He developed a general Valence Bond model for chemical reactivity, showed the existence of new bonding motifs, and elucidated structure, mechanism and dynamics in Cytochrome P450 and nonheme enzymes. His main recent awards are the Schrödinger Medal (WATOC 2007); the August-Wilhelm-von-Hofmann-Medal (the German Chemical Society, 2012); Membership in the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science (2015); and the three medals awarded by the Israel Chemical Society, including the Gold Medal (2017), which is the highest award of the society. Occasionally, he writes poetry and essays on a variety of topics.

His talk will discuss the potential of using oriented-external-electric-fields (OEEFs) as effectors of chemical change.

Prof. dr. Lies Bouwman

Leiden University

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, and make use of this knowledge to develop new catalytic reactions.

Her talk will be about the development of an ethene sensor using copper compounds.


Prof. dr. Tom Grossman

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Tom Grossmann studied chemistry at the Humboldt University Berlin (Germany), including undergraduate research with Peter Vollhardt at the University of California Berkeley (USA). In 2008, he received his PhD with Oliver Seitz at the Humboldt University Berlin. After postdoctoral research in the group of Gregory Verdine at Harvard University (USA), he became group leader at the Technical University and the Chemical Genomics Centre in Dortmund (Germany). Since 2016, he is full professor at the VU University Amsterdam, currently being supported by an ERC Starting Grant.

The lecture will highlight design principles and synthetic strategies that enable the conformational control of complex molecules ranging from relatively small peptidomimetics to entire protein domains.

Prof. dr. Sander Woutersen 

Physical Chemistry at the Van ’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences of the University of Amsterdam

Sander Woutersen is professor of Physical Chemistry at the Van ’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences of the University of Amsterdam. He studied chemistry in Amsterdam and did his PhD research at NWO-institute AMOLF. After obtaining his degree, he did a postdoc with Peter Hamm at the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy in Berlin, and became project leader at AMOLF in 2001. In 2006, he moved to the University of Amsterdam. In his research, Sander uses spectroscopy to address research questions at the interface of chemistry and physics.

In the first part of the talk we will have a look at "biological water". In the second part of the talk, we discuss the solubilities of the two simplest polyethers: PEG (repeating unit -CH2-CH2-O-), which is present in almost every cosmetic, and POM (repeating unit -CH2-O-), a plastic known to every chemistry student as the brightly-coloured Keck clips for connecting glassware.

Dr. Laura Filion

Utrecht University

Laura Filion has a masters in physics from McMaster University, Canada, and a PhD from Utrecht University, Netherlands. After working as a post-doc at Cambridge University, UK, she moved back to Utrecht University, where she currently works as an assistant professor in soft condensed matter. Her research focuses on using classical statistical physics and computer simulations to examine the self-assembly of colloidal particles, both in and out of equilibrium. In particular, she has explored a range of entropy-driven phase transitions, developed new methods to predict crystal structures, examined the nucleation of crystalline phases, explored crystal defects in colloidal crystals, and studied motility-induced phase separation in active particles. Recently, she has started to explore how machine learning techniques can aid in the study of soft matter systems.

In this talk, she will review briefly some of the recent applications of machine learning to soft matter systems, and show how we have used unsupervised learning methods to identify structures in self-assembled colloidal systems.

Dr. Eelco Ruijter

Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Eelco Ruijter (1977) studied Chemistry at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam and continued as a PhD student with Prof. Wessjohann at the VU and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (Halle/Saale, Germany), obtaining his PhD in 2005. By then, he had joined the Liskamp group at Utrecht University (the Netherlands) as a postdoctoral fellow working on chemistry-based proteomics. In December 2006, he returned to the VU Amsterdam as a tenure track Assistant Professor of Organic Chemistry. He obtained tenure in 2012 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018. His research interests include the development of new synthetic strategies towards complex molecules of high biological relevance making use of cascade processes and asymmetric catalysis. He is author of nearly 100 publications in international, peer-reviewed scientific journals and five book chapters, editor of two volumes in a book series, and co-inventor of four patents.

The talk will be about The mystery of compound X – a tale of serendipity, creativity, and next-level reaction mechanisms!

Dr. Mike Preuss

Leiden University

Mike received his PhD in 2013 from the Chair of Algorithm Engineering at TU Dortmund, Germany, and was with ERCIS at the WWU Muenster, Germany, from 2013 to 2018. His research interests focus on the field of evolutionary algorithms for real-valued problems, namely on multi-modal and multi-objective optimization, and on computational intelligence and machine learning methods for computer games. Recently, he is also involved in Social Media Computing, and he is publications chair of the upcoming multi-disciplinary MISDOOM conference 2019. He is associate editor of the IEEE ToG journal and has been member of the organizational team of several conferences in the last years, and notably is general (co-)chair of the PPSN 2020 conference in Leiden.

The talk will be about novel developments in AI that lead to the current AI hype and how a large part of this is rooted in Game AI. But while AI methods make more and more progress, they are also applied in other fields more, an important one of them being Chemistry.

Prof.dr.ir. Hans-Gerd Janssen


Prof.dr.ir. Hans-Gerd Janssen obtained his MSc and PhD degree from the Eindhoven University of Technology. After obtaining his PhD degree he joined the Eindhoven University as an associate professor. In 1999 he moved to Unilever where he became the science leader for chromatography and mass spectrometry. From 2004 he was part-time professor at the University of Amsterdam. Since 2019 he holds a special chair on ‘recognition-based analytical chemistry’ at Wageningen University.

Prof. Janssen’s research interests include the development of novel separation systems for the analysis of complex samples. Fighting food waste with miniaturized and automated instrumentation has his special interest. Prof. Janssen has published more than 200 papers including two patents and eleven book chapters. His passion is to apply novel developments from surrounding fields to develop new analytical methods and techniques that ultimately allow us to solve analytical issues we were not able to solve before.

The talk will be about developing simple analytical devices that can help the consumer, at home, in the kitchen, to assess food freshness. Simple chromatographic separation system exploiting purpose-functionalized selective surfaces are used to detect marker compounds for food aging. These include hexanal for aged edible oils, or putrescine and cadaverine to detect spoiled meat.

Dr. Erich Kirchner


Eric Kirchner studied physics in Utrecht. In his PhD work in theoretical chemistry at the Free University of Amsterdam he predicted molecular dissociation and surface structure of crystals. This was done in close collaboration with experimental physicists.
He worked for ICT company Exact and for the national environmental research institute RIVM, then joined AkzoNobel R&D in 1996.
Since then he obtained roles as research physicist for Business Unit Car Refinishes, then team leader, project lead and currently Senior Color Scientist for all paints and coatings. Together with suppliers, Eric led the innovative research that resulted in the launch of a new color instrument that would become the standard in the global automotive OEM industry.
Eric collaborates with several universities and institutes, as well as with the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. He co-authored more than 60 scientific articles related to color, and presented his work at numerous international conferences.

The talk will be about the expertise of AkzoNobel to use physical-chemical analysis techniques that helped restore the painting Field with Irises near Arles in the Van Gogh museum.


Prof. dr. Andries Meijerink

Utrecht University

Andries Meijerink received his MSc and PhD degree in Chemistry at Utrecht University. After a post-doc in Madison (University of Wisconsin) he returned to Utrecht in 1991. In 1996, at the age of 32, he was appointed at the chair of Solid State Chemistry in the Debye Institute of Utrecht University where he leads an active group in the field of luminescence spectroscopy of quantum dots and lanthanide ions. In the field of lanthanide ions his work involves fundamental research on the energy level structure of both 4fn and 4fn-15d states and finding new concepts related to applications in solar cells, LEDs and scintillators, including the discovery of downconversion. Andries Meijerink received several awards, including the Proton Pluim, Shell Incentive Award (1995), the Gold Medal of the Royal Dutch Chemical Society (1999), the Centennial Award for Luminescence and Display Materials from the ECS (2002) and the Gilles-Holst Medal of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences in 2019.
In this lecture, a short historical introduction to multi-photon conversion phosphors will be followed by an overview of recent developments of efficient up- and downconversion materials and their applications.

Prof. dr. Bert Windhorst

Vrije Universiteit

Bert Windhorst currently holds a position as professor in radiopharmaceutical chemistry at the VU University Medical Center, where he heads the radiopharmaceutical chemistry section of the department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine with in total 35 people (staff, post-doc, PhD and technicians), chemists, biologist and engineers.

His main research interest is in the development and production of 11C and 18F radiolabeled compounds for clinical PET. He collaborates intensively with clinical researchers in research projects aimed to better understanding of disease by use of PET, personalized medicine and he collaborates with pharmaceutical companies on the application of PET in drug development.

The talk will be about the research of a typical radiopharmaceutical chemist will be discussed to demonstrate the valuable contribution the radiopharmaceutical chemist can make in clinical research and patient care by supporting nuclear imaging to the next level.

Dr. Hans Heus

Radboud University

Hans Heus studied Chemistry and obtained his PhD degree at the University of Leiden. For his postdoctoral research, he went to the University of Colorado at Boulder to work on Hammerhead catalytic RNA together with Arthur Pardi and Olke Uhlenbeck. After his postdoctoral research, he moved back to the Netherlands to the Radboud University in Nijmegen to continue his research on structure-dynamics of RNA molecules. More recently, the focus is on building a synthetic cell using Mycoplasma as basis and aptamer technology in bionanosensing and cellular regulation.

In his lecture, he will highlight the development and impact of aptamer technology and illustrate the usage of polymeric aptamers in diagnostics and therapeutics of breast cancer.

Prof. dr. Yuriy Román

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Prof. Román was born in Mexico City, Mexico. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, also in Chemical Engineering, under the guidance of Prof. James Dumesic. At UW he worked on developing catalytic strategies to convert biomass-derived carbohydrates into platform chemicals. Before joining the department of Chemical Engineering at MIT, he completed a two-year postdoc at Caltech, working with Prof. Mark E. Davis on the synthesis of zeolites and mesoporous materials for the activation of small molecules and biomass-derived oxygenates. He has been awarded the SHPE Outstanding Young Investigator, the NSF CAREER, Aris, AICHE CRE Young Investigator, and ACS Early Career in Catalysis awards.

In my lecture, I will show how advanced synthesis techniques can be coupled with rigorous reactivity and characterization studies to unearth unique synergies in nanostructured catalysts. More specifically, I will discuss the use of molecular engineering tools to design nanostructured earth-abundant heterometallic early transition metal carbide (TMC) nanoparticles as a novel platform to replace (or at least drastically reduce) noble metal utilization in electro- and thermo-catalytic applications. I will present a new method to synthesize TMCs covered in atomically-thin layers of noble metals with exquisite control over composition, size, crystal phase, and purity. Controlling these features has direct consequences on the electronic (and thus catalytic) properties of the noble metal overlayer.

Roderick Tas will replace Lisa Dongen-Timmer as a parallel lecturer.

After completing my Bachelor degree in Biology, I started the master Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences at Utrecht University. During my masters I used advanced live- and super-resolution methods to study selective transport in neurons in the Biophysics group of Prof. Dr. Lukas Kapitein. After obtaining my master degree, I started a PhD and continued to study how neuronal cytoskeleton organization affects selective transport in neurons under the supervision of professor Kapitein. As part of my PhD, I combined biochemistry and single-molecule localization microscopy to develop a super-resolution technique to visualize microtubules and directly impose their orientation. This led to new insights about the neuronal microtubule architecture and how this affects selective sorting into the axon and dendrites. Additionally, during my PhD, I had to opportunity to receive training at the marine biological laboratory (Woods Hole, MA) in the Physiology course. As of May 2019 I started as a post-doctoral researcher in the group of Ilja Voets.


Lecturers 2019

Here you can find the lecturers of the PAC-Symposium 'Back to the Future':

Prof. dr. Lucy Carpenter
Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories
University of York

Prof. dr. Lucy Carpenter will give the first plenary lecture during the symposium. Her group focusses on atmospheric chemistry at the University of York. During her lecture, she will focus on the role of halogens on the chemistry of the troposphere. Especially iodine chemistry with ozone will be discussed. The lecture will indicate the chemistry of halogenated gasses and their impact on the atmosphere.

Prof. Marc Robert
Laboratoire d’Electrochimie Moléculaire
Paris Diderot University

Prof. dr. Marc Robert will give the second plenary lecture during the symposium. His group focuses on reactivity and catalysis of molecular systems using electron transfers. His talk will be about the electrochemical reduction of CO2 to generate renewable fuels. He will explain the use of hybrid systems that combine homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis for the CO2 reduction.

Prof. dr. Gerard van Koten
Debye Institute of Nanomaterials Science
Utrecht University

Prof. dr. Gerard van Koten is a Honorary Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University and Cardiff University (UK). His research comprises the study of fundamental processes in organometallic chemistry and the development of organometallic complexes (viz. pincer-metal complexes) as homogeneous catalysts. During the symposium he will give an overview of the past 50 years of chemistry and explain how the eyesight of the chemist (including his own) has been sharpened from a misty one to an unexpectedly, sharpened level of single atoms and molecules.

Prof. dr. Dirk J. Broer
Department Functional Organic Materials and Devices
Eindhoven University of Technology

Prof. dr. Dirk J. Broer is a full professor at Eindhoven University. Before his academic career he worked at Philips where he worked on optical data storage. His talk will be about the surprising and functional properties of reactive mesogens or liquid crystal polymers. He will give an overview of how liquid crystal networks are embedded in flat TVs and how they can have a future in robotics.

Prof. dr. ir. Bert Weckhuysen
Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science
Utrecht University

The group of prof. dr. Bert Weckhuysen is especially known for in-situ & operando spectroscopy of catalytic solids under realistic conditions. He will discuss the use and design of solid catalysts, focused on the conversion of carbondioxide. Additionally, he will present the advances in spectroscopy of catalytic solids and show the difficulties of making a molecular movie of a catalyst.

Dr. ir. Annemieke Petrignani
Laboratory astrochemistry
University of Amsterdam

The research team of dr. ir. Annemieke Petrignani currently concentrates on astrochemistry with a focus on the origin of life. In her lecture she will discuss the organic chemistry occurring in space and the photochemistry that they carry out in the lab to find out what is happening or rather already has happened in space.

Dr. ir. Jarl Ivar van der Vlugt
Homogeneous, Bioinspired & Supramolecular Catalysis
University of Amsterdam

Dr. ir. Jarl Ivar van der Vlugt works on designing and exploiting ligand-centered designs and new strategies for small molecule activation at the University of Amsterdam. During his lecture, he will give an overview of the relevant advances in organometallic chemistry and catalysis, with a  focus on redox-active ligand designs.

Dr. Francesco Buda
Leiden Institute of Chemistry
Leiden University

The group of dr. Fransesco Buda at Leiden University currently focuses on key processes in natural photosynthesis to provide theoretical insights for efficient photo-induced charge separation and water splitting. In his lecture, he will present an overview of developments and applications of ab initio molecular dynamics simulations, with a focus on the challenges observed within his research into natural and artificial photosynthesis. 

Prof. dr. Gerard Roelfes
Biomolecular Chemistry & Catalysis
University of Groningen

Prof. Gerard Roelfes from the University of Groningen will in his parallel talk discuss the creation of new enzymes that are specialized in certain reactions. He will speak about the design of these enzymes and how they can be optimized by directed evolution.

Prof. dr. Beatriz Noheda
Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials
University of Groningen

The team of prof. dr. Beatriz Noheda develops materials for future electronics. In her talk, Betariz Noheda will discuss the challenges related to the synthesis and characterization of oxide thin films, since these films are key elements in electronic devices.

Gert Wilgenhof

Gert Wilgenhof studied Commercial Chemistry at the Saxion University of Applied sciences. At the age of 22 he started as a salesmen of instruments for laboratories and nowadays he is a Sales Manager at the BeNeLux department of PerkinElmer. In his talk he will explain the world of commerce in science and how this field developed over the years. And he will ask maybe the most important question for you: would you be a suitable candidate to enter the world of commerce in science?

Dr. Frank Hollmann
Department of Biotechnology
Delft University of Technology

The research of dr. Frank Hollmann focusses around the use of enzymes for a more sustainable chemical industry. His talk will be about the use of natural enzymes as biocatalysts to offer shorter and environmentally more benign synthesis routes than the traditional chemistry.

Niels Hauwert MSc
Division of Medicinal Chemistry
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The research of Niels Hauwert focusses on the development of photoactive ligands for histamine receptors. During his talk, he will discuss the general approach towards GPCR photopharmacology and his recent contributions to photoisomerisable azobenzene-based GPCR ligands.

Dr. Stijn Gremmen

Dr. Stijn Gremmen is the Head of Chemistry from ZoBio. He is working in a team of chemists, biologists and physicists to find novel molecules for clients in the pharmaceutical industry. ZoBio is one of the early adaptors of fragment-based drug discovery, which will be introduced during the talk.