Lecturers 2022

Here you can find this year's lecturers and abstracts of their talks.

Prof. dr. Jan van Maarseveen

Prof. dr. Jan van Maarseveen

University of Amsterdam

Jan van Maarseveen obtained obtained his Ph.D. in 1994 at the University of Nijmegen on the total synthesis of indole alkaloids. From 1994-1999 he joined Solvay-Pharmaceuticals as a farmacochemist. In november 1999 he moved back to academia and was promoted in 2015 to full professor. His research focusses on the development of methodology to enable the synthesis of small and strained cyclic peptides together with the development of enantioselective catalytic methods with applications in alkaloid synthesis. Currently, the group is fully dedicated to covalent scaffold-based methodology development towards mechanically interlocked molecules. Jan obtained several prices of which the “Teacher of the year of the University of Amsterdam in 2012” award is the most prestiguous one. In 2016 he was awarded the KNCV Van Marum Medal for his contributions to chemistry outreach and excellence in teaching. His second passion is flying, in summertime in gliders and in wintertime powered gliders.

Lasso peptides share an N-terminal macrolactam of 7/9 residues through which the linear exocyclic C-terminal part is threaded and mechanically locked. It has been thoroughly studied that the intriguing lasso-fold that is present in the majority of natural lasso-peptides possesses an exceptional proteolytic and conformational stability. Their fascinating topology, high compactness, stability, and biological activities make them ultimate targets for synthetic methodology development. Although several groups embarked on this subject, the fact that almost twenty years after their structure elucidation no general synthesis has been published yet underscores their complexity. In other words, the 2016 Nobel prize-winning methodologies toward rotaxanes/catenanes that are mainly based on supramolecular mutual positioning of the ring-thread fragments, fall short. I will present to you our recently developed template-based clipping and backfolding concepts and a combination of both that should allow future synthetic access to mechanically interlocked peptides.

Dr. Roxanne Kieltyka

Dr. Roxanne Kieltyka

Leiden University

Roxanne Kieltyka was born in Toronto, Canada. She carried out her doctoral thesis in the group of Hanadi Sleiman at McGill University on the development of novel platinum-based complexes for the targeting of G-quadruplexes as an anticancer therapy. She then performed postdoctoral work in the group of at the Eindhoven University of Technology in Eindhoven, The Netherlands on the synthesis of supramolecular polymers for application in the biomedical field. Roxanne is an associate professor within the group at Leiden University. She was named one of the by C&E News and has recently obtained an ERC Starting Grant.

The application of adaptive materials in areas from biomedicine to electronics has invigorated the development of new supramolecular materials with specific function. Their easy processing due to their non-covalent character permits the facile introduction of biomolecules, such as peptides, and their responsiveness to different stimuli is attractive for manifold applications in the biomedical field. To realize their use, there is a need for structurally simple monomers with high synthetic accessibility that can robustly self-assemble into polymeric architectures in the presence of complex molecular cargo. Squaramides, structurally minimal ditopic hydrogen-bonding units, show tremendous potential in this regard due to their ease of synthesis starting from commercially available precursors and ability to be introduced into a variety of monomers. In this talk, I will share our exploration of the squaramide synthon for the construction of supramolecular polymers that can be used for biomedical applications such as drug delivery and 3D cell culture.

Prof. dr. Jos Oomens

Prof. dr. Jos Oomens

Radboud University

Jos Oomens received his PhD from Radboud University in 1996 on a subject in high-resolution molecular spectroscopy. In 1999, he joined the group of Prof. Gerard Meijer at the FOM institute Rijnhuizen (now DIFFER). Here, he started to apply the FELIX laser to obtain IR spectra of gaseous molecular ions in an ion trap mass spectrometer. Initial studies focused on the spectral fingerprints of ionized polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), hypothesized as constituents of interstellar clouds. Together with US researchers, he developed an FTICR high-resolution mass spectrometer for infrared ion spectroscopy, which was employed in ion chemistry studies aimed at resolving molecular structures for ionized molecules and complexes. In 2011, he received an NWO VICI grant that enabled him to build a new ion spectroscopy platform with analytical sensitivity at the FELIX lab that moved to Radboud University in 2013. Here he started to develop analytical application of ion spectroscopy for molecular structure identification, collaborating e.g. with researchers from the Radboudumc.

Mass spectrometry (MS) is one of the cornerstones of analytical chemistry, especially in the analysis of complex mixtures: samples that contain thousands of molecular components in varying concentrations. Both sensitivity and resolving power of MS are unparalleled by other analytical methods. However, determination of molecular structures on the basis of MS data is challenging, as a single molecular weight value may correspond to many structural isomers.


I will show how MS can be integrated with infrared (IR) spectroscopy, so that IR spectra can be recorded for individual, mass-selectively isolated components in a complex mixture. [1]. In contrast to a mass spectrum, an IR spectrum provides diagnostic vibrational frequencies from which the molecular structure can be deciphered. Interestingly, reconstructing the molecular structure from the vibrational spectrum can be achieved through computationally predicted IR spectra, opening avenues towards reference standard-free molecular structure identification. A prominent example that I will showcase involves biomarker discovery for inborn errors of metabolism. [2,3]

[1] Martens et al. Anal. Chim. Acta, 1093, 1 (2020)
[2] E. van Outersterp et al. Anal. Chem. 93, 15340 (2021)
[3] F.H. Engelke et al. J. Clin. Invest. 131, e148272 (2021)

Dr. Klaas Giesbertz

Dr. Klaas Giesbertz

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Klaas Giesbertz is an assistent professor in the Theoretical Chemistry group at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). He did the bachelor physics and the topmaster nano science at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. In 2010 he obtained his PhD cum laude at the VU under supervision of Evert-Jan Baerends and Oleg Gritsenko with the thesis titled “Time-dependent one-body reduced density matrix functional theory”. After a two-year postdoc at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) in the group of Robert van Leeuwen, he returned to the VU on a VENI grant to continu his work on one-body reduced density matrix (1RDM) functional theory. His research group focusses on improving 1RDM functional theory and other electronic structure methods at the level of mathematical foundations, practical approximations and implementation.

Molecular orbital (MO) theory is a very important tool in chemistry to rationalise chemical reactions and the response to external perturbations like catalysts, substituents and irradiation. There is not a single MO theory, since there are different ways how to construct the orbitals. In his lecture, Klaas Giesbertz will explain the essence of the two most prominent versions of MO theory: Hartree–Fock (HF) and density functional theory (DFT). He will explain how both MO theories fail to describe the breaking of chemical bonds in practice and how their performance can be improved.

Dr. Danny Broere

Picture of Danny BroereDr. Danny Broere

Utrecht University

Danny Broere is a tenure track assistant professor in the Organic Chemistry & Catalysis group at Utrecht University (UU). He studied chemistry at the Hogeschool Utrecht (HU) and the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam. In 2016 he obtained his PhD cum laude under supervision of Jarl Ivar van der Vlugt and Joost Reek, working on redox-active ligands. After his PhD, Danny worked as a NWO Rubicon Postdoctoral fellow in the group of Patrick Holland at Yale University on a NWO Rubicon fellowship. In September 2018, Danny started his independent research program at UU. He finds his inspiration for his research in the elegant multimetallic architectures that natural metalloenzymes use to catalyze challenging chemical transformations. His research group focusses on obtaining fundamental understanding of how multiple metals can work together to activate strong chemical bonds, and use this knowledge to develop multinuclear homogeneous catalysts for reactions of relevance to the energy transition.


His lecture will revolve around the question: “Are Two Better than One?”. In search for an answer Danny will discuss how nature exploits cofactors containing multiple metal atoms in close proximity to catalytically make and break chemical bonds. Subsequently, he will take a deep dive into the synthetic systems developed in his group and how these display distinct stoichiometric and catalytic reactivity from their mononuclear counterparts. 

Prof. dr. Mario van der Stelt

Prof. dr. Mario van der Stelt

Leiden University

Mario van der Stelt received his Ph.D (cum laude) in chemistry from Utrecht University in 2002. He was a project-leader of multidisciplinary drug discovery teams in Merck Research Laboratories (Oss). In 2012 he moved to Leiden University and founded the department of Molecular Physiology. He became a full professor in Molecular Physiology in 2017. His research interests are focused on lipid and kinase signaling in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. His vision is to work in multidisciplinary teams to design, synthesize and apply chemical tools and concepts to understand biology with the ultimate goal to improve human health. Key to his research is the development and integration of chemical biology and computational techniques to predict and profile drug-target interactions. In 2019, he was selected as a principal investigator of Oncode Institute. He has co-authored >115 papers and patents and won several (inter)national prizes, including Prix Galien Research and a VICI-award from NWO.

Lipid transmitters, such as endocannabinoids and eicosanoids, play important roles in the central nervous system and regulate physiological processes in health and disease that include pain, emotion, addiction and neuroinflammation. Chemical probes that perturb lipid transmitter biosynthesis and metabolism are needed to understand the function of these pathways in the brain. Here, I will present our work on the development of chemical probes to study endocannabinoid biology. I will discuss how chemical proteomics can be used to guide the development of selective probes and how they can be used in the various stages of drug discovery. [1-3]:

[1] Mock et al. J. Med. Chem., 2021, 64, 481
[2] Mock et al. Nature Chemical Biology, 2020, 16, 667
[3] Van Esbroeck et al., Science, 2017, 356 1084

Prof. dr. Luis Liz-Marzan

Image of Prof. Luis Liz-MarzanProf. dr. Luis Liz-Marzan

Center for Cooperative Research in Biomaterials, CIC biomaGUNE

Luis Liz-Marzán is Ikerbasque Professor at the Center for Cooperative Research in Biomaterials, CIC biomaGUNE, in San Sebastián (Spain), where he also served as the Scientific Director from 2012 to 2021. He graduated in Chemistry from the University of Santiago de Compostela, was postdoc at the Van ‘t Hoff Laboratory at Utrecht University (1003-1995) and Professor at the University of Vigo (1995–2012), as well as visiting professor at various research institutions worldwide. Liz-Marzán is co-author of over 500 publications and 9 patents, and advisor of 35 PhD students and 60 postdocs, many of them currently holding academic positions. He has also held various editorial positions, currently as an Executive Editor of ACS Nano. Liz-Marzán’s research focuses on the colloidal synthesis and self-assembly of metal nanocrystals, as well as the characterization and application of their plasmonic properties. More recently, he focused on the biomedical applications of plasmonic nanostructures.


Noble metal nanoparticles display unique optical properties, related to localized surface plasmon resonances (collective oscillations of conduction electrons), which give rise to well-defined absorption and scattering peaks in the visible and near-IR spectral range. Such resonances can be tuned through the size and shape of the nanoparticles, and are highly sensitive towards dielectric changes around the particles and to their specific organization within assemblies. Therefore, metal nanoparticles have been proposed as ideal candidates for biosensing and bioimaging applications.

This presentation will focus on the application of colloid chemistry to the synthesis of metal nanoparticles, where surfactants play a crucial role for the definition of the final, nanoscale morphology. As a result, a variety of optical/plasmonic phenomena can be optimized, with a wide range of potential applications.

Lecturers 2021

Here you can find the lecturers from PAC 2021 "Impact" and the abstracts for their talks.

Lecturers 2020

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