The Chemistry of Vampires; A Bloody Experience!

Bas de Bruin
University of Amsterdam

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. The famous Dracula novel of Bram Stoker therefore represents the ultimate example of “fatal attraction”. The topic still appeals to many, and several modern movies and series are also based on vampires: Underworld, True Blood and many others. Blood is red, but why? And not all blood is red…. It can actually be True Blue, and this has nothing to do with your Noble blood-line…. Blood-sucking parasites – such as vampires – much like red blood. But will they also appreciate true blue blood?
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. This includes chemical warfare in biology using coordination chemistry and catalysis! As such, blood is a source of inspiration for research in modern catalysis. Since catalysis literally runs through our veins, the lecture will end with a few catalytic results from the UvA (inspired by Dracula).

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). He did his postdoc in the group of Wieghardt at the Max-Planck Institut für Bioanorganische Chemie (Mülheim a/d Ruhr, Germany, April 1999-April 2000) for which he obtained an Alexander-von-Humboldt fellowship in 1999. After his postdoc he returned to the University of Nijmegen as an assistant professor in Inorganic Chemistry (Metal-Organic Chemistry). September 2005, Bas de Bruin obtained an NWO-VIDI grant to uncover new catalytic reactions. November 2005 he moved to the University of Amsterdam (UvA, group Reek, Homogeneous and Supramolecular Catalysis), where he was promoted to Associate Professor (UHD, October 2008). January 2013 he was promoted to Full Professor at the same university. 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, specifically aiming at the development of new catalytic reactions. In 2008 he obtained an ERC Starting Grant (first round of the EU 7th framework Ideas Program; ERC = European Research Council). In 2012 he obtained an NWO-VICI grant to investigate new controlled (catalytic) radical-type transformations. He currently continues these research activities with an NWO-TOP grant.

 

Prof. Dr. Bas de Bruin

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