Below you'll find the program for our Annual Meeting.

  • Plenary

    Welcome by Emiel Staring (Managing Director Chemelot InSciTe)

    We are proud to present you the program of our 4th InSciTe Annual Meeting “Accelerating results”. We are delighted to offer you a full two-day meeting, with keynote lectures, presentations from InSciTe projects, poster pitches, and network opportunities. In our two-day meeting we will share with you the successes that we’ve achieved in our biobased and biomedical projects throughout this past year, and you will also learn also about global developments and trends within our field.

    Emiel Staring, Managing director, InSciTe

    Emiel Staring received his PhD in Chemistry at the State University of Groningen. In 1985 he started his career at the Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven as research scientist and later as department head. In 1999 he moved to DSM Research in Geleen, where he acted as department head of a research group on organic chemistry and biotechnology. From 2001 until 2004 he was responsible for the global R&D activities of DSM Coating Resins, a business group with its head office in Zwolle. In 2004 Emiel Staring returned to the DSM head office in Heerlen where he has held various research and technology management functions. In this capacity, he initiated the BMM program, a successful public private partnership of over 50 participants and with a budget of some 100 million Euro. In 2007 he was appointed Managing Director of this program. In 2015 he was appointed Managing Director of Chemelot InSciTe.

  • Keynote lecture

    Keynote Lecture Jan Cobbenhagen (CEO Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus): 'From Bench to Bedside: Accelerating knowledge transfer in the life sciences'

    Accelerating the road from research findings to products in the market is an important objective of InSciTe as the impact of InSciTe’s work doesn’t stop with research results. Research and scientific breakthroughs have led to new ideas, knowledge, concepts, and products. The next challenge is to make sure that these research results will eventually benefit society or, in the case of Health and Life Sciences, the patient. And as is the case for many health and life sciences researchers all over the world, successfully managing the proces from the lab bench of the researcher to the (bedside of) the patient is a rewarding, yet challenging one. Accelerating this proces is even more challenging and requires a science-business ecosystem that includes the whole innovation chain. An ecosystem Brightlands has been developing at a rapid pace.

    In line with this year’s theme of the 4th InSciTe Annual meeting, Jan Cobbenhagen will focus on some of the challenges researchers and entrepreneurs face in knowledge transfer and translational medicine. Next he will highlight the way the Brightlands science-business ecosystem supports and facilitates researchers and entrepreneurs in more rapidly and effectively transferring research results towards products that benefit society and public health. Lastly, some challenges ahead will be discussed.

    Jan Cobbenhagen, CEO Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus

    Prof. Jan Cobbenhagen has extensive experience at the cutting edge of science and entrepreneurship. Since 2015, he has been a Professor of Knowledge Transfer and University Venturing, having been a Professor of Entrepreneurship for eight years previous. He served for 12.5 years as the director of Maastricht University Holding BV (strategic shareholdings) and of UniVenture, Maastricht University's corporate venture company that finances spin-offs through equity investments. Jan Cobbenhagen is also the director of the Knowledge Transfer Office at Maastricht University/MUMC+. As of 2016, he has also been active as the CEO of the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus.

  • Keynote lecture

    Keynote Lecture Martijn Cox (CTO Xeltis): 'Bringing cardiovascular restoration to clinical reality'

    Martijn Cox reveals about the activities of his company Xeltis, a clinical-stage medical device company developing the first ever blood vessels and heart valves enabling cardiovascular restoration, through a therapeutic approach called Endogenous Tissue Restoration (ETR). The porous structure of Xeltis’ restorative heart valve enables cardiovascular restoration by harnessing the body’s natural healing process to pervade it with new healthy tissue once implanted. As a new healthy blood vessel or heart valve made of patient’s own tissue forms around the structure of the implant and takes over functionality, the original implant gets absorbed in the body. Xeltis’ cardiovascular implants are made of bioabsorbable supramolecular polymers. To date, 28 children have received a Xeltis cardiovascular implant, during several small First-In-Human studies. Xeltis is currently working to bring first applications for adult patients to clinical stage as well.

    Martijn Cox, CTO Xeltis                                                       

    Martijn Cox is Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Xeltis. Martijn has significant experience in endogenous tissue restoration (ETR) in the cardiovascular system. He has been one of the key contributors to the development of Xeltis’ technology.

    Prior to Xeltis, Martijn co-founded and led QTIS/e, a startup spun off from Eindhoven University of Technology, until its merger with Xeltis. With QTIS/e he secured several million Euros of public funding and participated with preeminent industrial and academic partners to numerous national and international research projects on cardiovascular tissue engineering and ETR. Martijn Cox holds a PhD in cardiovascular tissue engineering and a Master in Business Innovation from the TiasNimbas business school.

  • Plenary

    More with lignin, Michael Boot (Owner/Director of Vertoro)

    Michael Boot is projectleader of both the InSciTe's projects Lignin RICHES and LIBERATE. One of the core objectives in Lignin RICHES and LIBERATE is to develop and scale up routes from lignin and wood, respectively, to so-called crude lignin oil (CLO). In a recently awarded MEUR 3+ OPZUID project 'Doe meer met lignine', we will expand the feedstock scope from wood and lignin to include also various “homegrown” negative value biomass streams, including champost and roadside grass. On the CLO application side, Lignin RICHES and LIBERATE look at phenol, phenolic resins and fuels. In 'Doe meer met lignine', we will focus on polyurethane and aromatic base chemicals, notably, benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene (BTEX), as possible CLO derivatives. The project consortium, coordinated by Vertoro, comprises Chemelot InSciTe, Attero, Bio Treat Center (BTC), Indresmat, and VITO.

    Michael Boot, Owner/Director, Vertoro

    Michael Boot received his MSc. and PhD. from Eindhoven University of Technology in 2005 and 2010, respectively. Originally schooled as a mechanical engineering, Michael went on to obtain an MBA from TIAS Business School in 2016. For the better part of the past decade, Michael has followed two distinct, though highly synergetic carrier paths in the biobased domain. One as a scientist in various guises at Eindhoven University of Technology and one as an entrepreneur through multiple high-tech startups, most recently as co-founder and CEO at Vertoro.

  • Plenary

    Beyond eye drops - our translational journey with an ocular coil, Rudy Nuijts (Professor Corneal transplantation and refractive surgery MUMC+)

    In 2015, the OCDC (Ocular Coil Drug delivery and Comfort) project was started within the Chemelot InSciTe Biomedical program in order to launch the ocular coil from concept to first-in-man. The OCDC consortium consists of Maastricht University (UM) / Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC+), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Eyegle bv. 

    In the first two years, the ocular coil was designed, developed, and produced. After production, the product was carefully packed, labeled, sterilized, and tested for biocompatibility. Its design history file (counting more than 100 documents) was created under the ISO13485 quality regime of Chemelot InSciTe. 

    In the following two years, drug-loaded ocular coils (loaded with ketorolac tromethamine) were tested in animals. Drug release was characterized by an initial burst release followed by gradual release up to 28 days. The rabbit studies showed that the drug loaded ocular coil is able to release drugs to the eye and to prevent an early inflammatory response. 

    In parallel, the comfort and safety of the placebo ocular coil (without drug loading) was tested in a first-in-man trial. The ocular coil was placed in the lower eyelid of healthy volunteers for 28 days. Although safety and comfort parameters scored very high, loss of the coil was observed in the majority of trial subjects. Changing the design from a straight coil to a curved coil only slightly improved retention. 

    Looking back after 4 years, our translational journey with the ocular coil was an adventurous time. Administrative hurdles, unpredictable obstacles and technical sidewalks were managed. A multidisciplinary team is a precondition in these projects to ensure high quality research and to manage timelines, milestones, and deliverables effectively. In addition, the continuous support and guidance of the InSciTe quality and management team was essential. In the spirit of this 4th annual meeting ‘Accelerating Results’, we hope to inspire and accelerate other InSciTe projects by sharing our experiences.


    Rudy Nuijts, Professor Corneal transplantation and refractive surgery MUMC+

    Prof. dr. Rudy M.M.A. Nuijts is professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Cornea Clinic and Center for Refractive Surgery at the University Eye Clinic Maastricht (MUMC+). His research themes include clinical and translational research in ophthalmology with focus on innovative corneal transplantation techniques, intraocular lenses, corneal banking, intraocular drug delivery systems, femtosecond laser-assisted surgery, anterior segment imaging and keratoconus. Recently, he finished the ESCRS PREMED study, a landmark multicentre European study evaluating the preferred drug treatment for prevention of macular edema after cataract surgery. He is (co-)author of more than 200 publications, (co-)promotor of 12 PhD students and gave more than 300 invited lectures (H-index 39; 4258 citations; 14-08-2019). He was co-promotor of Dr. R.T. Pijls who described a new ocular drug delivery device in her thesis “The OphthaCoil; a new vehicle for the delivery of drugs to the eye”, co-promotor of Dr. L.P.J. Cruysberg with the thesis entitled “Novel methods for sustained intraocular drug delivery” and promotor of C. Bertens, MsC who is finishing his thesis on the OCDC-trial. He is chairman of the Netherlands IntraOcular Implant Society (NIOIC), treasurer of the Dutch Corneal Society, and president-elect of the ESCRS (European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons).

  • Biobased

    Torrefaction of bio-waste streams: process and product characteristics, Jo Sluijsmans (founder of Torr-coal)

    In 2007 Torr Coal Group has been established and started off to develop a production process, called torrefaction of biomass containing waste streams. Torrefaction is a thermal treatment of different kind of biomass in absent of oxygen. The result is a sustainable renewable product, which can be used for co-firing in a coal-fired power plant, gasification to produce syn-gas, replacement of coke in steel production and production of carbon black and active coal.

    Development and engineering activities started in 2007 and resulted at the end of 2010 in a torrefaction factory on industrial scale in Dilsen-Stokkem (Belgium). Till 2014 deliveries of torrefied woody biomass in powder form have taken place to coal-fired power plants and gasification installations. 
    In 2014 a pilot pelletizing installation has been installed which enabled the supply of torrefied biomass in pellet form in addition to powder form.

    Lately it has become increasingly clear that torrefied biomass can also be used as a raw material for the sustainable production of various types of organic chemical substances. A large part of Torr Coals' activities is for that reason currently focused on exploring this further with third parties.

    Jo Sluijsmans, Chemical engineer, founder of Torr-Coal

    After his chemical engineering education, Jo Sluijsmans started working for Philips Display Systems as process / product developer in 1979. In 1998 he switched to quality engineer and later to quality manager for Philips Display Systems. In 2006 Jo Sluijsmans became Group leader Supply Quality Assurance at DAP Philips.

    In 2008 he decided to leave Philips and he began to start working for a newly established company called Torr-Coal Group. At this company Jo Sluijsmans is active in a role as Quality / Environmental Manager and as Process / Product Developer. 

  • Biomedical

    Acceleration… the story of the hospital and the device manufacturer, Inge Sieben (CEO Glanum)

    The story of the Glanum Group started a few years ago at a kitchen table: why is it that smart medical devices often do not reach the health care professional? The answer doesn’t seem logical because it is certainly not the technical difficulty; it is rather the regulatory burden, and the route to practice of the health care professional.  
    Realizing this, Glanum had a strong drive to produce medical devices which would really make it into the practice of the health care professional. Knowledge of the two founders was combined: Frank Everaerts has a solid background in medical device development, Inge Sieben is an expert in the certification process. Which left the question, how do we guarantee that the medical devices we develop do reach the health care professional? 
    Glanum thought outside the box: we will take our products directly to the health care professional ourselves! We investigated what it would take to have a General Practitioners (GPs) adopt a diagnostic tool in his practice. We learned that the logistical burden is huge and that the investments needed are too high. We worked on a service which would take all these burdens away: A privately held health care clinic (in Dutch, 'zelfstandig behandelcentrum') was opened which received all needed certificates to allow for delivering care. 
    Glanum Diagnostics is delivering 24 or 48 h ECG-Holter registration service to GPs. Now this is done with a Holter device already on the market. These Holter devices are old fashioned, uncomfortable, difficult to maintain and expensive. In order to scale up, Glanum is developing a new type of Holter, a Holter patch. This is an integrated system (so no wires and connected to sensors), which is watertight so it will allow for showering whilst wearing the device. The combination is our success: we will deliver a new type of Holter combined with a diagnostic service directly to the GP. The development of a patch based medical device opens opportunities for multiple devices which we can all deliver to health care professionals via the service Glanum Diagnostics is offering.  

    Inge Sieben, CEO Glanum Medical & Glanum Diagnostic

    Inge Sieben studied Health Sciences at the Maastricht University and specialized in conducting clinical trials at Medtronic. Later, in a free-lance position she became involved in several clinical and QA projects for companies like Philips and Holst Centre. 
    For Inge, the patient together with the medical professional should be the center of care and preventive medicine should become the basis of healthcare in future. 
    Since so much promising technology for serving patients and health care professionals is developed but never will reach commercialization, she became one of the founders of the Glanum Group. Glanum focusses on development of CE labelled diagnostic medical devices as well as market introduction complete with a service model. Hereto the ‘Zelfstandig Behandelcentrum’ Glanum Diagnostics was established where medical professionals analyze data and a report with a treatment plan is returned to the GP. 
    Glanum is constantly looking to improve service by sourcing new products or services within mind that with the right tools the GP and the patient are served, and overall healthcare spending remains manageable.  

  • Biobased

    Gasification of torrefied biomass into catalytic grade syngas, hydrogen and biochar; economics and technology, Robin Post van der Burg (Co-founder Torrgas)

    The global energy transition has started and is irreversible. In the next few decades we will transform from a fossil resource driven society to a renewable, circular society. Wind and solar energy developments have shown spectacular, by the vast majority unpredicted, costs reductions with grid parity or even outperformance in a constantly increasing number of countries.

    However, the transition is 80% related to molecules (read: chemicals and fuels) and 20% to electrons (read: power), where wind and solar account for. For renewing our molecules portfolio, a renewable hydrocarbon feedstock is required. The only renewable hydrocarbon feedstock we have on this planet is biomass. Biomass waste, in our case means, all fibrous, non-edible, residues and waste products. This means all fibrous residues from food production like herbaceous species (bagasse, corn-stover, reed, straw etc. etc.) and wood processing (bark, branches etc.).

    Biomass is not a fuel but a feedstock and requires a pre-treatment process that transforms the wide variety of feedstocks into one homogeneous feedstock. This process is called torrefaction and it transfers heterogeneous, fibrous and low energy density feedstock into a homogeneous, pulverisable, high energy density bio-fuel. 

    So far, torrefied biomass has been marketed as a premium bio-fuel for co-firing in coal utilities for the large-scale production of renewable power. Torrgas believes that the highest value creation from torrefied biomass can be obtained from gasification into co-production of high value products: biobased chemicals & fuels and engineered carbon. This pathway creates superior value than substituting coal and is also more CO2 effective since the renewable biomass is converted into products.

    The syngas that Torrgas produces is tar and nitrogen free and thus after further conditioning suitable for catalytic conversion into, hydrogen, biobased chemicals and fuels. This catalytic conversion can be done via thermo-catalytic conversion as well bio catalytic conversion since the produced syngas meets both specs. The absence of moisture in the feedstock and thus relatively low reaction enthalpy allows the co-production of high-quality char (or activated car-bon) that can be applied in a wide variety of engineered carbon markets. 

    Torrgas has developed its patented, novel gasification process on the application of torrefied biomass that has proven itself at a 1 MW demo phase (TRL 7). A Torrgas project of 25 MWth, in Delfzijl The Netherlands, has been granted 92 million SDE+, equity financed and permitted. The first 12,5 MW is planned to be operational in 2020. After realization of these projects, Torrgas investors Gasunie and Groeifonds target further upscaling and conversion of the syngas into hydrogen and syngas supply to produce biobased chemicals like methanol, DME and acetic acid. 

    The current SDE+ tariff of €86 per MWh will allow Torrgas, once front-end capital costs are paid off during 12 year SDE, to lower SNG costs to around € 40 per MWh and hydrogen costs to about € 30 per MWh or 1.000 euro/ton.


    Robin Post van der Burg, Co-founder Torrgas

    Robin Post van der Burg is currently Director at Torrgas. He holds an MSc. in Chemical Engineering from Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, and an MBA from Rotterdam School of Management, the Netherlands.

    After working for close to 10 years in various positions at LyondellBasell in the Netherlands, the USA and the UK, Robin repatriated to Amsterdam to realize his entrepreneurial ambitions. Together with Erwin Eijmans, Robin co-founded Topell Energy in 2006. With the support of significant capital investments from German utility giant RWE and Vattenfall Topell succeeded in proving torrefaction technology on commercial production scale. As Business Development Director Robin succeeded in pre-selling numerous plants and pitching the potential of biobased industries in a wide variety of boardrooms. This innovative development has been awarded by The World Economic Forum(2010), Bloomberg(2010) and the World Wildlife Foundation(2011). As pioneer in the torrefaction industry Robin has built a strong international network with stakeholders in the biomass value chain.

    In 2012, Robin and Topell co-founder Erwin Eijmans moved on, establishing Torrgas to pioneer what they believe will be a crucial next development in the energy sector: the efficient gasification of torrefied biomass and downstream upgrading of the produced syngas. Torrgas aims to be at the basis of the establishment of a biobased society. Applying cutting edge technology for the decentralized, sustainable processing and production of, engineered carbons, bio based chemicals and fuels, Torrgas aims to significantly reduce the dependence on traditional coal, oil and gas. 

    Currently Torrgas is executing a 25 MW biomass gasification project in Delfzijl, integrating torrefaction and gasification. This Delfzijl plant will produce 12 million cubic meters of synthetic methane per year. This project is financially supported by, amongst others, Nederlandse Gasunie N.V. and Groeifonds. Torrgas and its partners are planning biobased hydrogen production as a next add on towards a biobased future.



  • Biomedical

    Delivering local drug delivery to the orthopaedic patient; are we there yet? Laura Creemers (Associate Professor UMC Utrecht)

    Local biomaterial-based drug delivery is a highly promising approach towards safe and effective pharmacological treatment of disease. High and effective local concentrations can be attained for a prolonged time period. The systemic burden is low, offering a new lease of life to drugs that are effective but have unacceptable systemic side effects. Moreover, smaller amounts of the drug are needed, thereby greatly reducing the costs of expensive biologicals-based treatments e.g. antibodies. Although nanomedicine approaches are gaining ground, systemically administered drug nanocarriers only reach body structures containing “leaky” blood vessels, such as tumours or organs like the liver and spleen, precluding their application for musculoskeletal disease. In contrast, prolonged delivery of drugs through local administration in bulk degrading biomaterial carriers, e.g. as microspheres or hydrogel depots, offers many advantages for diseases that are local in nature and inaccessible via the circulation, including osteoarthritis or intervertebral disc disease. 

    The most likely first compounds to be delivered locally are FDA-approved drugs already in use. For osteoarthritis these could be corticosteroids and COX-2 inhibitors. Delivery biomaterials should be compatible and their local behaviour well characterized. Body location partially dictates the form of the biomaterial used, e.g. hydrogels will mostly be unsuitable for drug delivery in the diarthrodal joint. One PLGA-based product releasing triamcinolone acetonide is already on the market, and shows mixed results in human patients. We also found encouraging effects of TAA delivery in OA and RA pain, up until canine patients, although the presence of acute tissue damage is a contraindication. Delivery of celecoxib, both in OA and in IVDD, yielded long term inhibition of inflammation and pain, osteophyte formation and in the IVD even mild regeneration, up until in large animals including canine patients. In addition to providing hope for patients with chronic joint pain, extension of this approach towards other drugs and even biologicals may hold promise for regenerative approaches. Understanding the mechanisms of local drug release and effects of unusually high local concentrations will greatly aid development and efficacy of such new therapies.

    However, also the Valley of Death needs to be taken. Regular pharma companies are not interested in drug delivery-based treatments, while generic formulation companies may not be interested in spending the millions required in the repurposing of an off patent drug or approval of novel delivery platforms. Also from a regulatory point of view, not many guidelines have been established as yet for local drug delivery formulations. Nevertheless, given the enormous potency local drug delivery has for effective and safe treatment of many diseases, widespread adoption and facilitation is anticipated soon.

    Laura Creemers, Associate Professor UMC Utrecht

    Dr Creemers is associate professor at the dept of Orthopaedics at the University Medical Centre of Utrecht, with a focus on cartilage and intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration as major cause of chronic low back pain. She has a special interest in biomaterial-based local delivery approaches for regeneration and treatment of inflammation, and has been involved in several national and international projects on local drug delivery in these diseases. In her ongoing projects, biomaterial-based delivery (varying from hydrogels and microparticles to nanoparticles) includes small molecules, proteins, peptides and nucleic acids, with delivery of anti-inflammatory drugs most close to clinical translation in OA and IVDD. Research is done both in vitro and in in vivo models, ranging from rat to large animals, the latter in close collaboration with the dept of Companion Animals at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Collaborative disciplines include pharmacokinetics, mass spectrometry imaging and in vivo imaging.

  • Biobased

    Biobased aromatics from renewable resources, Erik Heeres (Managing Director ENTEG)

    Heeres, A.1,  Schenk, N.J.1 , Muizebelt, I.1,  Songbo, H.2, Heeres, H.J.2
    1 – BioBTX, Duinkerkenstraat 13, 9723 BN Groningen, The Netherlands 
    2 – Chemical Engineering department, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

    The identification and subsequent commercialization of added value chemicals from biomass is high on the global research and development agenda [1]. An attractive approach involves the conversion of suitable biomass sources to products that are already on the market place and commercially available (drop-in approach). This strategy exploits existing value chains, markets and infrastructure, which will speed up the pace of the development and reduce investment costs. In this presentation, research activities aiming at the identification of suitable catalytic technology for particularly aromatics from biomass sources will be reported. The focus will be on catalytic pyrolysis [2] using biomass residues such as glycerol and lignin. Typical features of the technology will be presented and recent results will be highlighted, with a particular focus on the yields of bio-based aromatics and catalyst performance. 

    [1] Bozell, J. J.; Petersen, G. R. Technology development for the production of biobased products from biorefinery carbohydrates - the US Department of Energy's "Top 10" revisited. Green Chemistry 12 (2010), 539-554.
    [2] Liu, C., Wang, H., Karim, A.M,, Sun, J., Wang, Y. Catalytic fast pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass. Chem Soc Rev. 43 (2014) 594-623.


    Erik Heeres, Managing Director ENTEG

    H.J. (Erik) Heeres (25-06-1963) carried out his Ph.D. research at the University of Groningen on the development of novel homogeneous lanthanide catalysts for the conversion of unsaturated hydrocarbons and graduated in 1990. Afterwards, he performed a post-doc at the University of Oxford in the group of Prof. J. M. Brown on asymmetric catalysis. From 1991-1999, he was employed at Shell Research B.V. (Amsterdam and Pernis, the Netherlands) and worked on a range of applied catalysis topics.

    Heeres joined the chemical engineering department of the University of Groningen in 1999 as an assistant professor. In 2003 he was appointed here as a full professor in green chemical reaction engineering. His research interests concern the development of efficient catalytic technology for acid- and metal-based catalytic biomass conversions, with an emphasis on biofuels (catalytic pyrolysis, pyrolysis oil upgrading), platform chemicals (levulinic acid, hydroxymethylfurfural) and performance materials from biomass (starch modifications). The group is actively involved in national and international consortia. Heeres is the (co-) author of more than 250 papers in international peer reviewed journals and 12 patents in the field of (applied) catalysis and chemical reaction engineering. Heeres is a member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen and an associate editor of the journal Fuel Processing Technology.

    For publication list and detailed research activities see:

    University of Groningen - Chemical Engineering
    University of Groningen - Heeres/Publications 


  • Biomedical

    Ultra-high field MRI and the clinic: imaging of tomorrow, Job van den Hurk (Scientific Manager Scannexus)

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI is a well-known imaging tool in the medical world. With increasing magnetic field strength, modern day ultra-high field MRI scanners allow us to look inside the human body with unprecedented accuracy. Moreover, the development of functional brain scanning techniques creates new possibilities for investigating the role of the brain in various medical applications. In this talk, Job van den Hurk will show you the modern-day applications of MRI at ultra-high resolution.

    Job van den Hurk, Scientific Manager Scannexus

    Job van den Hurk (1985) is a neuroscientist. He currently works as scientific manager at ultra-high field imaging center Scannexus, and as a cognitive neuroscientist at Maastricht University. Job also founded the neuroscientific platform Brainmatters, that intends to make brain science accessible in layman’s terms.

  • Biobased

    The need for lignocellulose based commodities, Wolter Elbersen (Wageningen University & Research)

    To meet the future demand for the biobased economy we need to make available all potential biomass resources in a sustainable way. This requires that we develop real lignocellulosic commodities to bring the potentially available biomass to markets where the commodities can be converted into added value products and energy at efficient scales. Trading these biomass commodities should lead to lower transaction costs and better security of supply for initiatives requiring sustainable biomass. For this, technologies and production chains are needed that remove nutrients, and condense the biomass into uniform and readily transportable intermediates such as pellets and pyrolysis oil. We also need to develop international regulations, certification and trading systems to develop true lignocellulosic commodities.  

    Wolter Elbersen, Wageningen University & Research

    Wolter Elbersen (1964) currently works as senior researcher biomass production and sustainable chains at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research. Wolter studied crop science at Wageningen Agricultural University (1989) and has a PhD from the University of Arkansas in grass physiology (1994). He has gained more than 20 years of working experience in assessment of biomass availability and the design of a sustainable biomass supply for energy and chemicals. He has worked on projects for Heineken, Shell, Coca-Cola and FMO bank and worked on assignments in Indonesia, Brazil, Ukraine, Colombia, Argentina, USA, Mozambique, India, Suriname and Malaysia. He has executed projects on using biomass from switchgrass, oil palm, sugar cane, pineapple and many other sources. He executed several assessments of biomass availability in the Netherlands and abroad. Currently his research focuses on setting up sustainable biomass supply for energy and biobased industries.

  • Biomedical

    Medtech to Market - the Biomedical Materials Translational Facility, Helmut Thissen (CSIRO Manufacturing)

    The Biomedical Materials Translational Facility (BMTF) is part of a joint venture between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Monash University and the Monash Health Translation Precinct in Melbourne, Australia specialising in the development of biomedical materials, coatings and devices. As the global population ages and emerging markets seek improved health care, the medical technologies and pharmaceuticals (MTP) sector is growing fast. Australia is home to more than 500 companies working in this sector. Many of these are small and medium enterprises, which sometimes struggle to transition from R&D and an initial offering to sustainable products. Here, the BMTF has recently been established at CSIRO to help companies turn new discoveries into market ready products more effectively.

    The BMTF facility provides infrastructure and equipment needed to develop a product though scale-up, prototyping, pre-clinical testing and industry evaluation. The facility provides access to an ISO 7 clean room for materials synthesis, processing, fabrication, and surface coatings. It also provides access to a wet lab for standard chemical processes and a PC2 laboratory for high throughput biological testing and materials evaluation. What facilities aren't available in house can be accessed through the Monash MedTech (M2) partnership, which also provides access to high resolution biomedical imaging, including a MR-PET scanner capable of simultaneous MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans and a Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine platform.

    Helmut Thissen, Team leader CSIRO Manufacturing

    Helmut Thissen obtained his PhD in Chemistry from RWTH Aachen University in Germany, where he also started to translate biomedical research into the clinic while working at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research. He joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Melbourne, Australia in 1998, where he now leads a team with more than 40 scientists that is focused on biomedical materials and devices. While he has published more than 150 peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters, his strong translational focus is reflected by more than 10 patent families, his role in CSIRO’s Biomedical Materials Translational Facility (BMTF) and the translation of research results into multiple successful biomedical products. Prestigious awards include the CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement and the Newton Turner Award for Exceptional Senior Scientists. He has served his scientific community in many roles, including President of the Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering (ASBTE), Program Leader of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Polymers and chair of multiple national and international conferences and symposia. He is also currently an Adjunct Professor at Monash University and National Taiwan University.

  • Biobased

    The value of stabilized lignin, Remy Buser (Co-founder and CEO Bloom)

    Lignocellulosic biomass is a ubiquitous and renewable source of chemicals that could significantly contribute to a more resource efficient economy. Yet, the separation of its most abundant components - cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin - remains a challenge. One of the major hurdles towards their cost-competitive upgrading is the almost unavoidable reshuffling of building blocks into materials that are difficult to valorise, such as humins or condensed lignin.

    Recently, a solution to this problem was proposed by LPDC in Lausanne. By applying an innovative “protective chemistry”, the components of biomass could - for the first time - be deconstructed and isolated without inducing condensation reactions [1, 2]. As a result, hemicellulose conversion to monomeric C5 sugars was improved by a factor 5 compared to the unprotected organosolv alternatives [3] and lignin was converted to monomers with maximal theoretical yields (up to 50%). On one hand, this paradigm shift opens countless routes for the continuous synthesis of added-value products and, on the other hand, the selective conversion to a handful of molecules dramatically reduces the complexity of the downstream separation steps. Furthermore, the versatile nature of the process allows upgrading a wide range of agricultural side-streams, adding value to numerous under-utilised materials.
    Bloom Biorenesables Sàrl is a spin-off from LPDC, with the vision to produce pure, bio-based chemicals at industrial scale using the patented “protective chemistry” technology.

    [1] Shuai et al., Science, vol. 354, num. 6310, p. 329-333, 2016, Formaldehyde stabilization facilitates lignin monomer production during biomass depolymerization.
    [2] Amiri et al., Nature Protocols, 14, 921-954, 2019, Fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass to produce uncondensed aldehyde-stabilized lignin.
    [3] Questell-Santiago et al., Nature Chemistry, 10, 12, 1222-1228, 2018, Carbohydrate stabilization extends the kinetic limits of chemical polysaccharide depolymerization.

    Remy Buser, Co-founder and CEO Bloom

    Remy Buser holds a MSc in chemistry and a PhD in Biochemistry. He worked for the Swiss government as scientific advisor on environmental bills and spent 8 years working on numerous startup projects. He is co-founder and CEO of Bloom Biorenewables Sàrl, a Swiss chemical company. Bloom is the result of his passion for chemistry, his entrepreneurial drive and his endeavour to provide innovative solutions that will reduce the adverse impact of human activity on the environment. Within 2 years, he raised more than €600k and built a team of experts to scale this innovative biorefining concept from the gram-scale to the kilogram. The resulting kg-samples have been evaluated by numerous industrial partners, which have welcomed the improved quality and confirmed their need for the products. His target is now to match this unmet need with an industrial production.

  • Biomedical

    Co-creating value; the role of early health technology assessment, Manuela Joore (Professor Health Technology Assessment MUMC+)

    Health care innovations have led to a dramatic increase in the duration and quality of our lives. At the same time, health care costs have risen to a level that may put the sustainability of our health care system in jeopardy. This makes the question whether innovations present value for money timely and important. Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is the interdisciplinary field of science that evaluates the social, economic, organizational, and ethical aspects of health technology. Traditionally, HTA has been performed when innovations have been tested and used in trial-settings and practice. Nowadays, it is increasingly recognized that HTA should be performed much more early in the development cycle, when there is still opportunity to shape the innovation in order to maximize value for society. While technology development is full of avoidable waste, early HTA provides the methods and information to make this process more efficient. For this, a true partnership between stakeholders (innovators, patients/users, health professionals, regulators, payers and HTA researchers) is crucial. In order to ensure that if you fail, you fail fast and hence cheap. But rather, to assist you not to fail at all, but develop innovations that offer solutions to real needs, against reasonable costs. 

    Manuela Joore, Professor Health Technology Assessment & Decision Making MUMC+

    Manuela Joore studied health sciences and epidemiology (1996) and obtained a PhD in economics (2002) from Maastricht University and holds a chair on Health Technology Assessment and Decision Making. Her research focuses on the economic evaluation of health technologies throughout the product lifecycle to inform decisions regarding research, market access, use and reimbursement. She has a special methodological interest in the appropriate handling of uncertainty in these evaluations and how this information can effectively be communicated to decision makers. Currently, she is head of the department of Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Technology Assessment and chair of the science committee of Maastricht UMC+. She (co-)authored 150 publications and is/was supervisor of 22 PhD students. She is a member of the scientific advisory committee of the National Health Care Institute, committees of the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, and she leads an evidence review group for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom. She is one of the founding partners of Hii~Holland, a public private partnership that supports impactful innovations for sustainable care to quickly reach the right user via fit for purpose (tailored) evaluations. 

  • Plenary

    Panel discussion

    Panel discussion ‘From academia to commercialization’, moderated by Simone van Trier. 


    Martijn Cox, CTO Xeltis 

    Jan Cobbenhagen, CEO Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus 

    Martin Paul, President Maastricht University 

    Tys van Elk, Managing Director LIOF    

    Carola van der Weijden, CIO Province of Limburg 

    Koen Janssen, Global Vice President Innovation DSM Dyneema

    Saskia Goetgeluk, CEO Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo 

    Martijn Cox, CTO Xeltis                                                       

    Martijn Cox is Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Xeltis. Martijn has significant experience in endogenous tissue restoration (ETR) in the cardiovascular system. He has been one of the key contributors to the development of Xeltis’ technology.

    Prior to Xeltis, Martijn co-founded and led QTIS/e, a startup spun off from Eindhoven University of Technology, until its merger with Xeltis. With QTIS/e he secured several million Euros of public funding and participated with preeminent industrial and academic partners to numerous national and international research projects on cardiovascular tissue engineering and ETR. Martijn Cox holds a PhD in cardiovascular tissue engineering and a Master in Business Innovation from the TiasNimbas business school.

    Jan Cobbenhagen, CEO Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus

    Prof. Jan Cobbenhagen has extensive experience at the cutting edge of science and entrepreneurship. Since 2015, he has been a Professor of Knowledge Transfer and University Venturing, having been a Professor of Entrepreneurship for eight years previous. He served for 12.5 years as the director of Maastricht University Holding BV (strategic shareholdings) and of UniVenture, Maastricht University's corporate venture company that finances spin-offs through equity investments. Jan Cobbenhagen is also the director of the Knowledge Transfer Office at Maastricht University/MUMC+. As of 2016, he has also been active as the CEO of the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus.

    Simone van Trier, Moderator

    Simone van Trier is a multi-faceted and skilled moderator. Her experience ranges from business meetings, conferences and television programmes to special concerts. Although she started presenting during her studies, these activities took a professional turn in 1997 when she became the news anchor for the regional television channel. Her great ambitions of allowing people to communicate with each other openly, honestly and with respect for one another’s opinions and background have not diminished. She is convinced that good communication is the key to every success. In addition to her work as a presenter, Simone van Trier is also a public speaking coach and presentation trainer.

    Find more information about Simone's activities here.

    Martin Paul, President Maastricht University

    Professor Martin Paul is President of Maastricht University (UM) since 2011. After obtaining a medical degree from the University of Heidelberg, he has held several academic positions in Germany, the United States and the Netherlands. Next to his distinguished career as a researcher (with more than 300 publications) and educator, Professor Paul has become active in academic management. He has been Dean of the Medical Faculty of the Freie Universität, and Vice President of the Executive Board of the Charité University Medical Centre. Furthermore, he has served as Dean of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences at UM and as Vice President of Maastricht University Medical Centre +.  

    Professor Paul is working actively to improve the standing of academic management and leadership on the international level. In this context, he is active as Chair of the Young Universities for the Future of Europe alliance (YUFE), Vice President of the Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN) and Chair of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN). Apart from these roles he serves and has served on several advisory and supervisory boards in the Netherlands, Europe and beyond such as the Austrian Science Council.

    Tys van Elk, Managing Director LIOF

    Tys van Elk holds a M.Sc. in mechanical engineering from Delft University of Technology and a MBA from London Business School. He has extensive global experience in high-tech and management positions, focusing on  strategic transformations, operational improvement, new business development and mergers and acquisitions.
    Tys currently holds the position of managing director of LIOF, the regional development organization in Limburg. Before that he held senior positions at Canon, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Harnischfeger Industries. 

    With 50 employees, LIOF promotes economic development in the Dutch province of Limburg fostering innovation, growth and ultimately job creation. LIOF focuses on innovative SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups in all sectors but with special attention to the four Brightlands campuses: agrifood, materials, smart services and healthcare. LIOF finances, advises and connects start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs in all phases, within the Province and in the Euregion with partners in Germany and Belgium. In addition, LIOF helps domestic and foreign companies to establish themselves in Limburg.


    Carola van der Weijden, CIO Province of Limburg

    Carola van der Weijden studied business economics at Maastricht University. After graduating, she held various positions in the field of marketing & sales in the business world (including Dagblad de Limburger). In 2001 she switched to the (semi) public sector (Rijkswaterstaat, CBS) and developed further towards management and policy. In 2009 she moved to Maastricht University where she made an important contribution to the further growth of the university and the Brightlands campuses, first as Director of Strategy and later as General Manager.

    In 2019, Carola joined the Province of Limburg as director, focusing on the areas of economic development, knowledge development and the climate agenda.

    Koen Janssen, Global VP Innovation DSM Dyneema

    Koen Janssen is a Belgian national who received his PhD in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Leuven. He started his career at DSM in 1991. He has worked in several technology and business areas, most of them in the materials field. In 2014-2015 he was Director of Chemelot and active in the growth of the Brightlands Chemelot Campus, next to creating a vision for Chemelot. After 4 years of Innovation Director for DSM Dyneema he just moved to the US as Vice President Innovation/R&D for DSM Biomedical based in Exton Pennsylvania. He recently joined the board of InSciTe.

    Koen Janssen is inspired by change: his drive origins from an intrinsic search to optimize organizations, to simplify processes, to create new product/applications and to guide/develop people in view of clear strategic and personal goals.

    Saskia Goetgeluk, CEO Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo

    Saskia Goetgeluk has been director of Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo since May 2017. She is responsible for the further development of the campus into the knowledge and innovation landscape in the field of healthy and safe food, future farming and the bio-circular economy. Previously, Saskia Goetgeluk was manager of Top Sector Horticulture & Starting Materials, Greenport Holland and Holland Horti International and involved in the National Science Agenda. 
    Goetgeluk: 'Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo must become the driving force behind innovation projects and business cases that actually create new investments and jobs. The campus needs to be talked about as an authority: through pioneering research, but also by organising activities in which you need to be 'present'. This is the strength of Brightlands: four hotspots of innovation and top research in Limburg are working together on healthy, innovative and sustainable solutions for the major social issues of our time.'

  • Plenary

    Poster pitches, presented by Kurt Gielen (Chief Business Officer Medace) and Jens Thies (Sr Science Fellow DSM Biomedical)

    Kurt Gielen and Jens Thies will present our annual Poster pitch, in which our poster pitchers will present their poster in an 1 minute pitch. After that you are welcome to review their poster in the poster room and enjoy a drink and small bite. 

    Kurt Gielen, Chief Business Officer Medace

    Kurt Gielen is Chief Business Officer of Medace, a fullservice biomedical co-workspace at the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus. He is also active as a business Development Manager Biomedical Materials at InSciTe and at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus. Kurt Gielen has a background in Sales, Marketing & General Business Management and has gained 18 years of experience in the Life Science & Biomedical Research industry. With a master in biochemistry Kurt has been working with all size companies to introduce Innovation Ecosystems.

    Jens Thies, Senior Science Fellow DSM Biomedical

    Jens Thies received his PhD from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh in 1998. Subsequently he undertook post-doctoral positions at DSM Research (Netherlands) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He joined DSM Performance Materials Research in 2001 and initiated the Functional Coating Innovation platform known today as DSM’s Advanced Solar Business Unit.

    Jens is an inventor of more than 40 patent families and has successfully lead products development in several DSM businesses including: Functional Materials, Solar, Medical Coatings and Drug Delivery. He is currently the global lead scientist within DSM Biomedical as Senior Science Fellow. Jens also holds an Executive Masters in Business Innovation from TIAS Business School (2010). 

Dinner & Social Event
  • Keynote lecture

    Keynote lecture Chris Reutelingsperger (CTO DSM-Niaga): Is it an apple or a passion fruit idea?

    Established in 2014, DSM-Niaga has a technical center in Zwolle, the Netherlands. The joint venture focusses on developing innovative technologies and designing products that minimize waste and improve your personal environment. DSM-Niaga stands for products that offer all you need, but not at the expense of our planet. We are helping to keep our resources alive. “Alive. Again and again.”

    Chris Reutelingsperger, CTO DSM-Niaga

    Chris Reutelingsperger started his career as an international sales representative and product developer in cleaning products. There he developed a passion for research and development of sustainable textile floor coverings and upholstery textiles. As of 1994 he established his own company, with a focus on the development and implementation of innovative circular technical & strategical concepts. He is the inventor of ERUTAN-carpet concept, and holds a worldwide patent. In 2010 he also founded Niaga to develop sustainable carpet solutions.  As of 2014 Niaga entered into a partnership with DSM, now established as a joint venture. Chris has been active as CTO and member of the board, being responsible for technical development and strategic marketing.   

  • Plenary

    How we build Isobionics, Toine Janssen (CEO Isobionics)

    CEO Toine Janssen reveales how his company Isobionics evolved from a start up in 2008 to a profitable fast growing biotech company in 2019. Isobionics, founded by him in 2008, is an ingredients company in the Netherlands developing, producing and selling a range of natural products in the flavour and fragrance market using its proprietary platform technology
    This technology can produce many compounds such as: citrus oils (Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit), compounds like Valencene and Nootkatone, Menthol, Sandalwood oil, Patchouli oil, … and many other less known basic building blocks for the flavour and fragrance industry.
    The current supply chain of many natural compounds is unstable and characterized by high volatility regarding availability, quality and pricing. With their proprietary fermentation technology (“Similar to brewing beer"), Isobionics creates stability and a cost price advantage.
    Their proprietary technology converts sugar, dissolved in water, into Valencene (Orange flavour) or other natural compounds in a fermentation vessel. Traditional produced compounds based on plants are seasonally harvested. Therefor product availability, quality and price are varying and unpredictable, due to crop specific growth cycles, labor intensity of harvest, weather conditions and diseases.
    Isobionics’ production process uses renewable materials and has a low carbon / energy footprint.

    Toine Janssen, CEO Isobionics

    Toine Janssen (CEO and founder of Isobionics) is a serial entrepreneur and has extensive experience in leading and building high technology businesses. He has extensive international experience as Executive Board Member for large multinational companies such as Flexsys, Philips Electronics (NXP) and Lucent Technologies (AT&T). 

  • Plenary

    Full circularity in chemicals and plastics enabled, Pieter Imhof (CEO BioBTX)

    Aromatics form the basis for a large variety of chemicals and polymers. Nowadays, over 98% of aromatics originate from fossil sources, while there is a strong need to obtain these in a sustainable way. BioBTX has developed technologies that enable the conversion of both biomass and end-of-life materials into platform chemicals, i.c. aromatics, especially BTX (Benzene, Toluene, Xylenes).
    By using these technologies, it will be possible to achieve full circularity: generating chemical building blocks from biomass or from end-of-life materials, like waste plastics and/or composites. 

    In the presentation examples will be given on the flexibility of the technology and its impact on products, performance and environment. The application of biomass and plastics as raw materials will lower the impact on environment and fossil sources usage, while maintaining the product properties and usage.

    Pieter Imhof, CEO BioBTX

    Pieter Imhof holds degrees in chemistry and economics, and has a Ph.D. in organometallic chemistry from University of Amsterdam. Pieter has held various management positions in Research & Development, Technical Service, Marketing and Product Development, both at Akzo Nobel and Albemarle. In 2005 he became responsible for Business Development, Sales & Marketing and Strategic Account Management at Avantium. In 2017 Pieter joined BioBTX as CEO, mainly oriented at commercialization of BioBTX’ Integrated Cascading Catalytic pyrolysis technology for the production of aromatics from biomass and end-of-life materials.

  • Keynote lecture

    Keynote Lecture Rogier Trompert (Medical illustrator): 'Medical Illustration - illuminating the Science of Life'

    The work of a scientific illustrator lies in distilling complex scientific information to the essence, by combining artistic skills with accurate anatomical and medical knowledge. With good visual storytelling the illustrator makes anatomy and science comprehensible for a specific audience.
    In this lecture, Rogier Trompert will elaborate on this by addressing topics such as:
    •    Historical introduction: Highlights in anatomical illustration, from Leonardo da Vinci to contemporary scientific illustration in the master program in Maastricht
    •    Biomedical domains served by scientific illustrators: Demands and needs of various specialization and its target audiences
    •    Utilization: The benefits of professional visualization for scientist in article submission, didactics, fundraising, general public education and marketing
    •    The making of infographics for the InSciTe biomedical projects

    Rogier Trompert, Medical illustrator and Coordinator of the Master Scientific Illustration

    Rogier Trompert received his master’s degree in 1999 at the University of Maastricht, Master Scientific Illustration Maastricht. He works for the faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences of the Maastricht University at the department of Anatomy and Embryology and the Zuyd University of Applied Scienences. For 20 years now he has been teaching at the Master Scientific Illustration where he became program director in 2011. Rogier Trompert has been active in the European Association of Medical Illustrators AEIMS (Association Européenne des Illustrateurs Médicaux et Scientifiques) since 1994 and currently serves in the AEIMS Board of Governors as country representative for the Netherlands. In 1999 he founded the company Rogier Trompert Medical Art. He works for medical specialists, pharmaceutical companies, universities, museums, scientific magazines and publishers.

    Rogier Trompert: 
    ” Anatomy in both men and animal is, in my opinion, the most beautiful art ever made. It is a privilege to be able to study and visualize it.”

  • Keynote lecture

    Keynote Lecture Theodora Retsina (CEO American Process Inc): BIO-based products from FORestry via Economically Viable European Routes (BIOFOREVER), a BBI JU project

    BIOFOREVER is a European project to demonstrate the feasibility of conversion of lignocellulosic feedstocks like wood into chemical building blocks and high added value products. The project will run under the umbrella of the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) which is a public private partnership between the European Union and the Biobased Industry Consortium. The BIOFOREVER project consortium consists of 14 European companies. The project will run 3 years from September 2016- December 2019 with a total investment of 16 million euro.
    The BIOFOREVER project objective is the technical and economical demonstration of different value chains from feedstock to final product. Within this framework, several conversion technologies will be demonstrated up to pre-industrial scale for several types of feedstock while commercialization routes for the most promising value chains will be delivered.

    Theodora Retsina, CEO American Process Inc.

    Dr. Theodora Retsina is the CEO of API EUROPE and American Process LLC (API). She received a BSc and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, University of London and is a licensed professional engineer in the United States. In 1995, she founded API – a company that focuses on value enhancement of the biomass industries through process integration, biorefinery technology applications and value engineering. She has more than 25 years of experience on value enhancement of the biomass industries through process integration, biorefinery and nanocellulose technology applications and value engineering. She is an author of over 200 scientific publications, patents, and patents pending.

    API EUROPE is a Company of Research and Experimental Studies in Biotechnology API Europe uses the experience, knowledge and expertise of American Process International LLC, a US company with 25 years of experience in the biomass sector. API personnel consists of experienced engineers and researchers with a proven record of successful engineering and research work for the Pulp & Paper as well as the Biorefinery industries. A list of projects that API personnel is involved in includes more than 500 international process integration studies in pulp and paper mills, as well as biorefinery feasibility studies. The API personnel was also involved in the study and construction of two bio-refinery facilities in the USA for the demonstration of API’s group technologies. 

  • Biobased

    The Biobased Total Synthesis of Cyclopentane-1,3-diamine Monomers and Applications Thereof, Christian van Slagmaat (Horizontal)

    Christian van Slagmaat, Stefaan de Wildeman
    Maastricht University, The Netherlands


    The conversion of bio-derived sources into various fine chemicals and materials is key to create a sustainable and eco-friendly standard of conduct for researchers and industries in the 21st century. One abundantly investigated example is the cascade transformation of furfural into cyclopentanone, which proceeds readily at high temperatures under reductive conditions.[1] However, only little attention is spent to the potential of the corresponding intermediates of that reaction so far…

    It is known that by applying mild and consecutively different reaction conditions, it is possible to first selectively obtain furfuryl alcohol,[2] which can be efficiently rearranged into 4-hydroxycyclopent-2-enone (4-HCP) subsequently.[3] While 4-HCP itself is a very interesting molecule for various sophistic syntheses, the metal-catalyzed hydrogenation to cyclopentane-1,3-diols and its application in polymerization was recently established by Li et al.[2], and the iron-catalyzed hydrogenation to cyclopent-4-ene-1,3-diols was demonstrated by us during the InSciTe annual meeting of 2018. 

    In this work, we bring the extent of this bio-based branch to the next level by establishing the total synthesis of cyclopentane-1,3-diamine (CPDA) as shown in Scheme 1. This was accomplished by developing the selective isomerization of 4-HCP into cyclopentane-1,3-dione (CPDO) using the Shvo catalyst. CPDO was then converted into cyclopentane-1,3-dioxime, of which we discovered the selective rhodium-catalyzed hydrogenation towards the desired CPDA monomers, which exist in meso-cis, R,R-trans, and S,S-trans isomers. Further treatment of CPDA monomers with 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and gamma-valerolactone (GVL) yields internal diimine- and diamide trimers, respectively. Their application in polymer synthesis with the focus on the effects of the diastereomerism is currently ongoing.


    Horizontals pic

    Figure 1:   Total synthesis from furfural to cyclopentane-1,3-diamine based tri-block monomers.
    InSciTe deliverables are indicated in green; novel transformations are enclosed in yellow boxes.

    [1]    M. Hronec, K. Fulajtarová, Catal. Commun., 2012, 24, 100 – 104. 
    [2]    G. Li, N. Li, M. Zheng, S. Li, A. Wang, Y. Cong, X. Wang, T. Zhang, Green Chem., 2016, 18, 3607 – 3613. 
    [3]    K. Ulbrich, P. Kreitmeier, O. Reiser, Syn. Lett., 2010, 13, 2037 – 2040.

    Christian van Slagmaat, Horizontal

    Christian van Slagmaat was born on April 21st, 1991 in Utrecht, The Netherlands. After graduating from the gymnasium middle school education at the Raayland College in Venray, he started BSc. Chemistry in 2009 at Utrecht University. In 2013 he started the MSc. Nanomaterials: Chemistry & Physics studies with a large emphasis on organic chemistry and catalysis. His masterthesis was conducted in the group of Prof. R.J.M. Klein Gebbink, and described the synthesis, characterization, and behavior of meta-stable trioxo-rhenium complexes with a multi-substituted Cp-ligand, and their use in deoxydehydration catalysis. In addition, he performed an internship for 10 months at DSM Innovative Synthesis in Geleen, concerning a highly extensive high-throughput screening of palladium catalysts for the cross-dehydrogenative coupling of arenes. By finalizing his MSc. studies with the latter project, he was given the opportunity to stay at Chemelot and to enroll in the InSciTe programme, where he started his PhD studies in December of 2015. Herein, Christian works on the LA2AA- and the HORIZONTAL projects under supervision of dr. Michèle Janssen and Prof. Stefaan De Wildeman, respectively. His projects concern the investigation of several hydrogenative transformations within the chemical pathways from biomass towards biobased materials, and the search/development and testing of suitable catalysts for this type of chemistry.

  • Biomedical

    Engineering the stromal environment for the development of artificial corneas, Cas van der Putten (EyeSciTe)

    Cas van der Putten 1,2, Nicholas Kurniawan 1.2 & Carlijn Bouten 1.2

    1    Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology
    2    Institute for Complex Molecular Systems, Eindhoven University of Technology

    Vision is one of the five senses human beings use every day in a wide range of tasks, however functional eyes are not obvious for everyone. It is estimated that around 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, and a considerate number of these patients suffers from conditions affecting the cornea [1]. Since suitable donor tissue is not available for all patients, alternative treatments need to be developed. Within EyeSciTe we try to develop new solutions based on engineered materials that can be an alternative to the current golden standard. 

    The consortium focuses on four main areas called PhenoSciTe, PolySciTe, ClearSciTe and EndoSciTe. Within ClearSciTe, the work package I am mainly involved in, we aim to develop an engineered stromal construct. In order to do so we need a number of key components such as stromal specific cells and a well-defined cellular micro-environment. Therefore the focus of my project will in first instance be the characterization of a stromal cell line and its environment. Hereby we focus on keratocyte specific markers present in both ‘quiescent’ and ‘activated’ keratocytes. Besides, collagen production and remodeling is investigated as collagen is the main component in the stromal layer of the cornea. From preliminary data we can conclude that both the ‘quiescent’ and ‘activated’ keratocytes express specific markers that are in line with literature, and see that the ‘activated’ cell type is more active in terms of matrix production and remodeling. Eventually the cells or the produced extracellular matrix may be used for the engineering of a living stromal construct. Apart from engineering a stromal construct the cells can also be used to get a better understanding of keratocytes and their behavior in vitro.

    Once a stromal construct is realized it is important that it can be stored and transported under stable conditions mimicking the in vivo situation. This objective will be realized by the development of a bioreactor that closely mimics the intro ocular pressure that is present in the cornea. Starting from the already existing Vertigro bioreactor we will investigate possible adaptations and requirements needed for proper storage of stromal constructs [2}

    [1] D. Pascolini & S.P. Mariotti, Global estimates of visual impairment: 2010, The British journal of ophthalmology, 96(5), 2012

    [2] A.J. van Kelle, P.J.A. Oomen, J.A. Bulsink, W.J.T. Janssen - van den Broek, R.G.P. Lopata, M.C.M. Rutten, S. Loerakker & C.V.C Bouten, A bioreactor to identify the driving mechanical stimuli of tissue growth and remodeling. Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods, 26(6), 2017



    Cas van der Putten, EyeSciTe

    Cas van der Putten is currently a PhD candidate at the department of Biomedical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, The Netherlands). In 2012 Cas started with a BSc in Biomedical Engineering at the TU/e, and since his interest in the combination of biology and engineering only grew larger he prolonged his stay at the TU/e by following a master program. During this period Cas focused on the development of a ‘tension probe’, a force sensor used to measure the force generated by a single cell. After finishing the graduation project he spend a few months in San Francisco, USA at UCSF to study the cell-matrix interactions of endothelial breast cancer cells in in vitro environments. 

    Since March 2018 Cas has been working in Eindhoven in the Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology group of Prof. Carlijn Bouten under the supervision of Nicholas Kurniawan. During the coming years he will be involved in the EyeSciTe project that has been running for approximately one year now. Together with several other partners they aim to develop new engineered solutions to improve therapies for patients suffering from visual impairment due to corneal disease. 

  • Biobased

    Results project BIO-HArT to enable further scale-up of bio-aromatics, Monique Wekking (Sr Business Development Manager TNO)

    Monique Wekking will present results from the Interreg NWE cross-border project BIO-HArT, acronym in Dutch for “Biorizon Innovation and Upscaling of Renewable Aromatics Technology”, which set out to scale up technology for the production of bio-aromatics from biomass, focusing specifically on woody biomass sources. The project has resulted in functioning bench-scale demonstrators and optimized processes with which samples can be provided to the industry on a kilogram scale. A consortium of 10 partners from industry and research organizations has been working on the realization of these ambitious targets, which was coordinated by TNO. The BIO-HArT-project is of great importance to be able to accomplish our final goal: enable commercial production of bio-aromatics by 2025. 

    Monique Wekking, Senior business development manager TNO

    Monique Wekking is Senior business development manager at TNO, the Dutch Organisation for applied scientific research. She has been working for the unit Sustainable Chemical Industry for six years now being responsible for technology development for feedstock flexibility (e.g. biobased, electrification, plastic recycling).  She works mainly for Biorizon Shared Research Center, which is initiated by TNO, VITO, ECN part of TNO and Green Chemistry Campus. The aim of Biorizon is technology development for BTX and functionalized bio-aromatics relevant for polymers, plastics, coatings, lubricants etc.

    Monique has gained 8 years of experience working at a company developing cleaning agents, including initiating in a new business line there, subsequently she has been Innovation Consultant for Dutch SME’s active in biobased and chemistry before she joined TNO.
    Monique Wekking has a MSc degree in Organic Chemistry from University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

  • Biomedical

    Flow Regulation of Microchannels in Glaucoma Devices by an External Stimulus, Sebastian Fredrich (SEAMS)

    Sebastian Fredrich1,2 , Albertus P. H. J. Schenning1.2, Jaap M.J. den Toonder1.3, Henny J.M. Beckers1.4 
    1 Chemelot Institute for Science and Technology (InSciTe), Geleen, The Netherlands  
    2 Department of Chemical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands 
    3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands 
    4 University Eye Clinic Maastricht, Maastricht University Medical Centre + (MUMC+), Maastricht, The Netherlands 


    Glaucoma is one of the major causes of blindness worldwide. Its main problem is the high inner ocular 
    pressure (IOP) which can damage the visual nerve leading to irreversible loss of vision. If medical 
    treatment alone is not effective anymore, trabeculectomy might help creating an artificial outflow of the 
    aqueous humor from the inner chamber of the eye.[1.2] For this purpose, tubular implants were developed 
    to release the IOP to a healthy value.[3] However, the long-term stability of this pressure-value as well 
    as the predictability of the exact final IOP after the surgery are poor. These problems might be solved 
    by implementation of a potential postmodification of the flow in such an implant.  
    Essential for the development of a functional material of a tube changing the flow characteristics through 
    it is the search for a suitable external stimulus, which needs to be nondestructive to the tissue, easily 
    available by an eye-doctor, not omnipresent to avoid undesired flow-modification in the everyday-life of 
    the patient and reaches the implant in the patient. Light as example can be varied in its wavelength, 
    intensity and easily focused to ensure a selective functioning. 
    As material a liquid crystal (LC, Scheme 1) polymer with incorporated photochromic entities to ensure 
    photoresponse of the system was chosen. The potential of aligning the liquid crystals and polymerize 
    them to fix this ordered state can give a macroscopic anisotropic shape-change, which might be 
    employed in the variation of the flow through the tube. For the first tries of a photoresponsive mixture, 
    azobenzene moieties were used for their simple preparation/commercial availability and widely 
    described features. The actuation of composites out of LC-polymer and a matrix polymer upon irradiation 
    was successfully proven.  

    Seams 2

    Figure 1: Microscopy image of a fabricated LC-polymer-tube. The end of the tube visualizes its hollow 

    To obtain a tubular shape, two glass-capillaries were fit into each-other, the LC-monomer-mixture was 
    filled in between and it was photopolymerized.[5] Some first free-standing tubes could be obtained. 
    However, for the final implementation into a medical device, further improvement of the material and 
    fabrication method are necessary. 

    (1) Gerhard K.Lang. Ophthalmology: A Pocket Textbook Atlas, 2nd edition, 2008. Chapter 10 Glaucoma 
    (2) H. M. Marey, S. S. Mandour, A. F. Ellakwa, J. Ocul. Pharmacol. Th. 2013, 29 (3), 330-334. 
    (3) (13/05/2019 10:25). 
    (4) X. Liu, S. Kim, X. Wang, J. Mater. Chem. B 2016, 4, 7293-7302. 
    (5) J. Lv, Y. Liu, J. Wei, E. Chen, L. Qin, Y. Yu, Nature, 2016, 537, 179-184. 

    Sebastian Fredrich, SEAMS

    Dr. Sebastian Fredrich was born in 1990 in Oranienburg, Germany. He studied chemistry at Humboldt-Universität in Berlin in Germany, where he obtained his Bachelor and Master degree. He also obtained his PhD-degree there under the guidance of Professor Stefan Hecht, PhD, working on a light activated selective nucleophile sensing system based on photochromic diarylethenes and the improvement of the fatigue resistance of photochromic diarylethenes switching from the triplet state.  In 2018, he moved to Eindhoven in the Netherlands for a position as postdoctoral researcher in the group of Professor Albert Schenning within the SEAMS-project of Chemelot InSciTe to work on stimuli responsive liquid crystal polymer films in tubular shape. His research interests cover the interaction of light and organic matter as well as the whole process of creating a device from the synthesis of the responsive material until the fabrication of the final device.

  • Biobased

    Biofuels from lignin, Panos Kouris (SCeLiO-4B)

    Panos D. Kouris1, Michael D. Boot1 & Emiel J.M. Hensen1

    1. Eindhoven University of Technology, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands


    The concept of a biorefinery that integrates processes and technologies for lignocellulosic biomass conversion demands efficient utilization of all three components (lignin, cellulose, hemi-). The lignocellulosic- to-ethanol process (2G ethanolic plants) makes use of the cellulose and hemicellulose, leaving lignin as waste. For this reason and also because of its richness in functional groups, lignin is a potential resource for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals.

    Much scientific research has been carried to convert lignin into valuable biobased chemicals or fuels. Most of these studies had the objective to develop active and selective catalysts for effective lignin depolymerization; this with little regard for the parameters that are necessary for later commercialization of these technologies [1]. As first step, we investigated the impact of scaling up a catalytic lignin depolymerization process of our group [2], from lab to bench scale. More specifically, we studied the influence of higher lignin loadings than previously reported on, amongst other parameters, monomer yield, solvent losses and catalyst fouling; all of which being critical performance parameters for industrial operation. This exercise shed some much needed light on the trade-off between yield optimization and cost minimization, and the main conclusion was that lignin cracking towards oxygenated aromatics cannot occur onsite. Oxygenated aromatics have been found to be excellent drop-in diesel biofuels. The question is how we can produce them in large quantities and in an attractive price. We believe in a concept where lignin is converted decentrally into a crude lignin oil (CLO) composition [3]. The CLO product, rich in lignin oligomers has already been found to be a suitable renewable marine fuel “as is”, creating thus a quick route to market. In a second step, these heavy crude lignin oils can be aggregated in central biorefineries, where economy of scale exists, and further upgraded to higher value mono-aromatics with commercial hydro-deoxygenation catalysts (e.g. Pd/C). We show what is the influence of lignin feedstock, CLO composition and metal catalyst on the yields of lignin monomers.


    [1]   Kouris P., Huang X., Boot M.D., and Hensen E.J.M., Topics in Catalysis 2018, 61, 1901-1911
    [2]   Huang X., Koranyi T., Boot M.D., and Hensen E.J.M., ChemSusChem 2014, 7, 2276 – 2288.
    [3]   Kouris P., Boot M.D., and Hensen E.J.M. (2019) WO2019/053287A1 

    Panos Kouris, SCeLiO-4B

    Panos Kouris holds a BSc. and a MEng in Chemical Engineering, from the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Patras in Greece. In 2015, he obtained his MSc. in Process Engineering from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), where he investigated a new process for the recovery of useful components from biomass waste streams.
    Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate (TU/e) and workpackage leader (InSciTe) under the supervision of Professor Emiel Hensen and Dr. Michael Boot, where he investigates the development of a new generation of liquid biofuels from lignin and the construction of the world’s first multifunctional pilot plant for lignocellulosic biomass conversion. 
    Panos owns, together with Michael Boot, the start-up company Vertoro. The goal of Vertoro is to scale up the production of a new globally tradeable commodity, crude lignin oil (CLO). As the Chief Technology Officer, Panos is responsible for all the technology decisions in the company.
    Panos was selected as Young European Talent (2018) in the field of Science.

  • Biomedical

    PoSTuRE: a journey towards first in humans, Paul Willems (PoSTuRE)

    Paul Willems1, Karlien Boon-Ceelen2, Erik Boelen3, Bert v. Rietbergen4, Chris Arts1.4 & Alex Roth1

    1    Department of Orthopedics, Maastricht University Medical Center
       Product Development, DSM Biomedical, Geleen
    3    Patient Specific Implants, Xilloc Medical BV
    4    Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology

    Scoliosis is a (progressive) three-dimensional (3D) deformity of the spine, that is observed in 2-3 % of the population. About 20 % of scoliosis first presents at the age of 4-10 years and is referred to as Early Onset Scoliosis (EOS).
    The most common form of scoliosis is Adult Spinal Deformity (ASD), which is observed predominantly at the age > 50 because of a decrease in spinal mechanical properties and degenerative changes in the spine. Due to aging of our population its incidence is rapidly increasing, up to 15% of people above 60 suffer from ASD. Especially in case of osteoporosis with subsequent reduced bone strength, fixation with conventional pedicle screws for correction may be compromised. Fixation by laminar wires can then be a viable alternative. Moreover, a serious problem in these patients is so-called proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK). This is caused by the high difference in stiffness between metal instrumentation and the human osteoporotic spine which creates a high load transfer leading to fracture or material failure at the junction. The use of sublaminar wires instead of metal screws at the transitional level may create a more gradual load transfer leading to less failure of the implant.
    First, the Posture project aims to deliver a Product Concept for spine correction in Adult Spinal Deformity. The first-generation product is based on UHMWPE cables made of woven Dyneema® (DSM Biomedical) in combination with existing medical devices and accessories in a defined design of which the metal screws and rods are currently commercially available.
    The road towards a First-in-man clinical trial for ASD has been challenging and not without hurdles. Substantial effort has been made by the consortium to gain the necessary knowledge and create a network of support in order to be able to start the human trial. Agreements with Clinical Trial Center Maastricht (CTCM) and Factory Clinical Research Organization (CRO) for study preparation and execution support has been attained. Together with Regulatory Affairs (RA) and Quality Assurance (QA) support from Chemelot InSciTe, all the necessary knowledge and resources are now onboard the clinical trial team.



    Paul Willems, PoSTuRE

    Paul Willems was trained as an orthopaedic surgeon with an additional 1-year certified AO-Spine Fellowship at the Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen. He has devoted his clinical and research practice to Spine Surgery at the Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC+). Paul is leader of the Spine Center Maastricht, a multidisciplinary setting for evaluation and treatment of patients with spinal disorders, and his clinical practice is devoted to the whole spectrum of instrumented spine surgery in first, second and third line of care. Scientifically he has a special interest in deformity and degeneration of the spine, osteoporotic fractures and translational research in scoliosis.

    Since December 2016 he has been active as PI of Posture, a translational InSciTe project that aims to improve and renew surgical techniques for the treatment of early onset scoliosis and adult spinal deformity with the use of Dyneema® sublaminar wires.

  • Biobased

    From Bio Oil to Bioplastics, Dannie van Osch (LIBERATE)

    Dannie J.G.P. van Oscha, Panos D. Kourisa, Michael D. Boota,b, Emiel J.M Hensena,c

    a. Laboratory of Inorganic Materials Chemistry, Schuit Institute of Catalysis, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
    b. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
    c. Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion, Universiteitsweg 99, 3585 CG, Utrecht, The Netherlands


    It is becoming clear that one of mankind’s major issues in the 21st is solving the climate crises. To solve this major problem we have to change from petrochemical resources to alternative resources. One of the most logical alternatives to the petrochemical ones is making use of lignocellulosic biomass. Annually, 4 times the amount of lignocellulosic biomass is produced into comparison to the amount of petrochemical oil we yearly use.  

    An interesting method presented by our group is the production of a crude lignin oil (CLO) from the natural component lignin. CLO can be produced both from lignin itself as from lignocellulosic biomass. Comparable to crude oil, CLO can be used for the production of materials, chemicals and fuels. Especially bioplastics, announced by the World Economic Forum as the top emerging technology of 2019, is of high interest. 

    Here we will show the first results on the production of bioplastics from CLO. More information will be provided regarding the melting behaviour of lignin and its future use as thermoplastic. 

    Dannie van Osch, LIBERATE

    Dannie van Osch studied Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) where he received his Master's degree (cum laude) in 2014. He continued with a PhD in September 2014 under the supervision of Prof. Maaike Kroon, which shifted to Prof. Remco Tuinier, associate Prof. Catarina Esteves and Jaap van Spronsen in January 2016. He finished his PhD in September 2018 with the thesis entitled 'Design and Applications of Hydrophobic Deep Eutectic Solvents'. In February 2019 he continued with postdoctoral research for four days a week in the group of Prof. Emiel Hensen and started as the Chief Business Officer at Vertoro, investigating and commercializing crude lignin oil.

    During his academic career he has focused on sustainable chemistry, which includes research into spinning disc reactors, microfluidic devices, visible light photocatalysis, sustainable solvents, and crude lignin oil. In 2018 he was chosen as Young European Talent and in 2019 as CAS Future Leader. In 2019 he was also awarded a One Young World Shell Scholarship. He is ambassador of the Young European Talent Program and member of the Brightlands Young Professionals Advisory Board.

  • Biomedical

    In vivo pharmacokinetics and efficacy of a drug loaded ocular coil, Christian Bertens (OCDC)

    C.J.F. Bertens1,2,3, M. Gijs1.2.3, A.J.J. Dias4, F.J.H.M. van den Biggelaar1.2.3, R.M.M.A. Nuijts1.2.3

    1 Chemelot Institute for Science and Technology (InSciTe), Geleen, the Netherlands.
    2 University Eye Clinic Maastricht, Maastricht University Medical Center +, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
    3 Department of Ophthalmology, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
    4 Eyegle bv, Maastricht, the Netherlands

    Eye drops and ointments are considered standard practice for the delivery of ocular drugs. However, noncompliance and low drug levels compromise effectiveness of the therapy. Therefore, there is a need for improved drug delivery. Our group developed an ocular coil, a device for sustained drug delivery up to 28 days that is inserted behind the lower eyelid. The ocular coil is filled with ketorolac-loaded microspheres to prevent postsurgical inflammation.
    The aim of this study was to gain insight into the pharmacokinetics and efficacy of the ocular coil. First, drug release from the ocular coil was tested in an in vitro lacrimal system. A burst release was observed that releases 49%±5% of the initially loaded ketorolac in the first three days. After day 3, release gradually lowered until after 28 days 70%±6% of the ketorolac was released (fig.1).
    Second, we tested drug release from the ocular coil in rabbits and compared pharmacokinetics to eye drops. We measured the ketorolac concentration in aqueous humor, tears, and plasma. After 4 days, the ketorolac concentration in aqueous humor was 9.9ng/mL±11.2ng/mL and 305.5ng/mL±204.7ng/mL for the ocular coil and eye drops, respectively. In plasma, the concentration could not be determined for the ocular coil, whereas the concentration in eye drops was 14.6ng/mL±4.3ng/mL. In tears, we were able to detect ketorolac after 28 days with a concentration of 18.9µg/mL±3.7µg/mm for the ocular coil and 18.1ng/mL±7.9ng/mm for eye drops. 
    Third, we tested the efficacy of the ocular coil in rabbits. We induced inflammation by performing a paracentesis and compared the non-inflammatory effect of the ocular coil with eye drops and without treatment. Protein and cytokine levels were measured in tears, plasma, and aqueous humor. Within the first day, we observed increase of the total protein and IL-6 level in aqueous humor of untreated animals, whereas this inflammatory response was prevented by treatment with the ocular coil and eye drops.
    To conclude, these studies show that the drug loaded ocular coil is able to release drugs to the eye and to prevent an early inflammatory response. As such, the ocular coil seems a promising ocular drug delivery device. 


           Figure 1. Cumulative release of the ocular coil, in vitro.             


    Christian Bertens, OCDC

    Christian Bertens, currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University Eye Clinic Maastricht of the Maastricht University Medical Center +, is affiliated to the school for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS) of the Maastricht University. In 2012, he graduated for the practical bachelor Applied Science at the Fontys University of Applied Sciences (Eindhoven, the Netherlands). In 2015, he obtained his master degree in Biomedical Sciences at the Maastricht University (Maastricht, the Netherlands), and parallel he graduated for the master bio-molecular sciences at the Toho University (Chiba prefecture, Tokyo, Japan). 
    In October 2015, he started his Ph.D. project within the ocular coil drug delivery and comfort (OCDC) project of the Chemelot institute for science and technology (InSciTe) on. In this project, he is involved in the preparation and execution of the human clinical trial and the animal studies. Besides drug delivery, he has interest in non-invasive drug and disease detection using e.g. Raman spectroscopy and bioassays, and above all, he has keen interest in the mechanisms of the ocular immune system.


  • Biobased

    1,3-Cyclopentanediol: uses and limits in semi-crystalline polyesters, Geert Noordzij (Horizontal)

    G.J. Noordzija,b, S. Rastogia, C.H.R.M. Wilsensa

    a Aachen-Maastricht Institute of Biobased Materials (AMIBM), Faculty of Science and Engineering, Maastricht University, Brightlands Chemelot Campus, 6167 RD Geleen, The Netherlands.

    b Chemelot InSciTe, Urmonderbaan 20F, NL-6167 RD Geleen, The Netherlands. 

    In this work we report on the synthesis of a series of polymers containing the potentially renewable 1,3 cyclopentanediol (CPdiol) as co-monomer in poly(ethylene furanoate) (PEF). Copolymers with molecular weights of more than 10 kg/mol and up to 43% CPdiol can readily be synthesized via standard melt-polycondensation performed at 220 °C, as is confirmed via GPC and 1H-NMR analysis. The introduction of CPdiol in the PEF backbone suppresses the glass transition temperature and limits the crystallization of PEF: copolymers containing 9-43% CPdiol are fully amorphous and do not crystallize within the evaluated experimental conditions.

    A further increase in CPdiol content to 82% results in the formation of thermally unstable semi-crystalline copolyesters that exhibit a melting temperature of 255 °C and degrade upon melting. With respect to the thermal stability, thermogravimetric analysis studies performed at 240 °C confirm that increasing CPdiol content decreases the thermal stability of the materials, thereby limiting high-temperature applications and melt-processing temperatures. Furthermore, preliminary gas-barrier experiments on amorphous films of PEF and the copolyesters with 5 and 24% CPdiol demonstrate that the oxygen transport rate (OTR) decreases fivefold in the presence of 24% CPdiol. In conclusion, we identify the 1,3 cyclopentanediol as a poor renewable alternative to cyclic diols such as 1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol for copolymerization in polycondensates, based on its limited thermal stability combined with the decrease in both oxygen barrier properties and Tg, when introduced as co-monomer in PEF.

    Geert Noordzij, Horizontal

    Geert obtained his Bachelor of Applied Sciences (BASc) in 2010 at Hogeschool Utrecht, in the field of Organic Chemistry. After a period of work as technician in Avantium he started his Masters at the University of Wageningen, where he obtained his degree in Molecular Life Sciences in 2013. Afterwards he started research in the field of biobased polymer chemistry at the Technical University of Eindhoven, and is now working as a PhD-candidate at the University of Maastricht in the same field since September 2015.     
    Geert majored in organic chemistry and synthesis, and is passionate about biobased chemistry and sustainability. He strives to combine his research and passion to realize the transformation towards sustainable products, processes, environment and society.

  • Biomedical

    A novel implant to address the treatment gap for middle-aged patients with focal cartilage defects, Maria Pastrama (SyCaP)

    M. Pastrama1, A. Roth2, P. van Hugten2, R. Jeuken2, H. Oevering3, J. Thies3, P. Emans2, R. van Donkelaar1 

    1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands 

    2 Laboratory for Experimental Orthopedics, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Maastricht UMC+, Maastricht, The 
    3 DSM Research Campus Geleen Performance Materials - Chemistry & Technology Lab, Geleen, The Netherlands 


    Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common diseases worldwide. It is estimated to affect more than 
    40 million people across Europe and it is predicted to become the fourth leading cause of disability 
    worldwide by 2020 [1],[2]. One of the causes of early OA is the presence of focal cartilage defects 
    (FCDs) [3],[4], representing well-defined locations on the articulating surface where cartilage has 
    (partially) disappeared.  


    Many procedures for the repair of FCDs have been developed over the last decades. Regenerative 
    therapies such as microfracture, autograft transfer and allograft transplant are most effective in patients 
    younger than 35-40 years old. If defects are not treated and progress to complete cartilage 
    degeneration, total joint replacement is the standard surgical intervention, most commonly indicated for 
    elderly patients. Consequently, a treatment gap for FCDs exists for patients between 35 and 65 years 
    old. In the past 5 years, cartilage resurfacing implants made of metal have also been used for the repair 
    of small FCDs in this age group. Nevertheless, because the biomechanical properties of these implants 
    do not match those of cartilage, they cause a gradual increase in damage in the surrounding and 
    opposing tissue [5]. Furthermore, when metal implants are used, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) 
    diagnostics can no longer be used to monitor the outcome of the implantation.  


    The aim of SyCaP is to develop a new, non-resorbable implant for the treatment of FCDs, with 
    mechanical properties tailored to match those of the native tissues. The mushroom-shaped implant 
    consists of two layers, with the top material approximating the mechanical properties of cartilage and 
    the bottom material approximating the properties of subchondral and trabecular bone (Figure 1). 
    Therefore, this implant can prevent damage to the adjacent and surrounding cartilage, as well as 
    promote osseointegration and prevent stress shielding. Furthermore, the polymeric materials allow for 
    post-implantation patient evaluation by means of MRI and radiographic analysis. A short term 3-month 
    in vivo study in goats showed immediate load bearing capabilities, short recovery times, and excellent 
    integration of the implant with the surrounding tissue. Longer, 6- and 12-months in vivo studies are 
    currently underway. 


    Figure 1: Design and materials used for the SyCaP implant. 



    [1] World Health Organization, “The burden of musculoskeletal conditions at the start of the new millennium,” 
    World Health Organ. Tech. Rep. Ser., 919(i–x): 1–218, 2003. 
    [2] A. D. Woolf, “The bone and joint decade. Strategies to reduce the burden of disease: the Bone and Joint 
    Monitor Project,” J. Rheumatol., Suppl 67: 6–9, 2003. 
    [3] A. Guermazi, D. Hayashi, F. W. Roemer, J. Niu, E. K. Quinn, M. D. Crema, M. C. Nevitt, J. Torner, C. E. 
    Lewis, D. T. Felson, “Partial- and Full-thickness focal cartilage defects equally contribute to development 
    of new cartilage damage in knee osteoarthritis - the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study,” Arthritis Rheumatol., 
    69(3): 560–564, 2018. 
    [4] P. Randsborg, J. Brinchmann, S. Løken, H. A. Hanvold, T. F. Aae, A. Årøen, “Focal cartilage defects in the 
    knee – a randomized controlled trial comparing autologous chondrocyte implantation with arthroscopic 
    debridement,” BMC Musculoskelet. Disord., 17(117): 1–9, 2016. 
    [5] R. J. H. Custers, W. J. A. Dhert, D. B. F. Saris, A. J. Verbout, M. H. P. Van Rijen, S. C. Mastbergen, F. P. 
    J. G. Lafeber, L. B. Creemers, “Cartilage degeneration in the goat knee caused by treating localized 
    cartilage defects with metal implants,” Osteoarthr. Cartil., 18(3): 377–388, 2010. 



    Maria Pastrama, SyCaP

    Maria Pastrama holds a PhD from the Vienna University of Technology in Austria, has been a postdoctoral researcher at KU Leuven in Belgium, and since November 2018 is a postdoctoral researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology. Her research blends computational and experimental methods to study bone and cartilage mechanics and understand mechanical requirements for biomaterials replacing these tissues. During her PhD she developed a multiscale computational model coupling systems biology with continuum poro-micromechanics to predict bone remodeling under altered mechanical loading. Using multiscale ultrasound-nanoindentation measurements, statistical nanoindentation and micromechanics she determined the stiffness of bone matrix and bone tissue engineering scaffolds made of ceramics such as Bioglass and Baghdadite. During her postdoctoral stay at KU Leuven she studied intra-tissue strains in enzymatically degraded, osteoarthritic bovine cartilage during cyclic compression using displacement-encoded micro-MRI.  

    Maria Pastrama is responsible for characterizing the material and mechanical properties of the implant and its interactions with native tissues in the SyCaP project. For these investigations she uses mechanical tests both at macroscopic and microscopic scale, as well as ultrasound imaging and optical profiling. Furthermore, with Finite Element simulations, she is investigating potential designs for a SyCaP implant for future use in humans.

  • Biobased

    HiPerBiopol: Biobased opportunities in polyamide processing and performance improvement, Jules Harings (HiPerBiopol)

    Jules A.W. Harings, Mohan Raj Mani, Milo Gardeniers, Sanjay Rastogi

    Aachen Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands


    To fight CO2 accumulation, which leads to global warming and ocean acidification, the industrial consumption of fossil-based carbon is to be minimized. Today, technical and scientific advances are not only witnessed in power generation, but also in the manufacturing of plastic materials that despite their currently growing negative awareness do provide environmentally friendly solutions [1]. The selection of chemical building blocks for polymer materials from natural resources is one way forward, which brings new properties like water (in)sensitivity about. Polyamides comprise a class of polymers that - with the right mindset and/or economics - can be readily produced from natural resources [2,3]. The ultimate performance of polyamides are affected, but not necessarily negatively, by (i) the selection of monomers, particularly by the polarity and consequential water sensitivity, and (ii) its structure evolution during shaping [4]. In HiPerBioPol we aim to exploit the careful selection of biobased induced polarity, and consequential water sensitivity, to generate enhanced mechanical performance with low environmental impact.

    This presentation will focus on the use of water and ions to mediate structure evolution in polyamide processing/shaping, targeting mild processing conditions for the manufacturing of oriented extended and perfected monoclinic crystals responsible for high mechanical performance. Upon orienting polymer chains in extensional flow, polymers tend to crystallize and the defected pseudo-hexagonal phase in polyamides may even transform into the perfected monoclinic phase, Figure 1. However, unlike in the well-known example of ultra-high molecular weight poly(ethylene), unreeling of disentangled lamellar polyamide crystals is hindered by the cooperative energy of all hydrogen bonds within the lattice [5]. Here, we will report the salient effect of initial crystal defects on water and ion mediated structural control under quiescent conditions. This serves as fundament in designing environmentally friendly processes for the production of high performance polyamide fibers.


    Figure  1: Variations in conformation, hydrogen bonding geometries and lattice parameters in the (un)shielded defected pseudo-haxagonal and perfected monoclinic phase of polyamide 6.   

    1.    Mülhaupt, R. Green Polymer Chemistry and Bio-based Plastics: Dreams and Reality. Macromol. Chem. Phys., 2012.
    2.    Pellis, A., Herrero Acero, E., Gardossi, L., Ferrario, V., Guebitz, G.M., Renewable building blocks for sustainable polyesters: new biotechnological routes for greener plastics, Polym. Int. 2016, 65: p. 861-871.
    3.    Adkins, J., Pugh, S., McKenna, R., Nielsen, D.R., Engineering microbial factories to produce renewable “biomonomers”, Front Microbiol., 2012, 3: p. 1-12.
    4.    Harings, J.A.W., Deshmukh, Y.S., Hansen, M.-R., Graf, R., Rastogi, S., Processing of polyamides in the presence of water via hydrophobic hydration and ionic interactions. Macromolecules, 2012. 45: p. 5789-5797.
    5.    Postema, A.R., Smith, P. Ultra‐drawing of Polyamides—the Hydrogen‐Bond Barrier. Polym. Commun. 1990. 31: p. 444–447.        

    Jules Harings, HiPerBiopol

    Jules Harings is assistant Prof. Macromolecular Physics & Technology at Maastricht University. He received his PhD in Polymer Technology from Eindhoven Technical University under supervision of Prof. S. Rastogi and Prof. P.J. Lemstra in 2009. His thesis is entitled “Shielding and deshielding of amide-based (macro)molecules”. After a four year’s period as research Scientist and project leader fiber physics and new product development at Teijin Aramid, where he received the Teijin global best R&D award in 2011, he returned to academics at Maastricht University in 2013. Here, he is the chair of the board of examiners for the new UM Science masters Systems Biology and BioBased Materials. Besides coordinating and lecturing the UM undergraduate courses “Physical Chemistry”, “Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences”, and UM BioBased Master courses “Introduction to Polymer Materials Science and Engineering” and “Bio-inspired Nano-structured Functional Materials”, he is staff scientist in the Aachen Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM).

    His focus is studying, understanding and technically exploiting the behaviour of macromolecules via his research lines: (i) molecular, structure and scaffold design of biomedical polymers for 3D printing and fiber spinning in regenerative tissue engineering, and (ii) water actuated structural refinement, functionalization and enzymatic biodegradability for timed ultimate polyamide performance.    

  • Biomedical

    Geometrically Modified Arteriovenous Graft for Hemodialysis Patients - The Future XS-Graft, Pamir Sawo (XS-GRAFT)     

    Pamir Sawo1.2.3, Sjeng Quicken1.3, Niek Zonnebeld1.3.4, Wouter Huberts1.3, Andrew Moufarrej2, Marije Sloff1.3, Jan H.M. Tordoir2.3 , Barend Mees2.3.5, Tammo Delhaas1.3

    1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Maastricht University, Maastricht – The Netherlands 
    2 Department of Vascular Surgery, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht – The Netherlands
    3 CARIM School for Cardiovascular Diseases, Maastricht University, Maastricht – The Netherlands
    4 Department of Surgery, Zuyderland Medical Center, Heerlen – The Netherlands 
    5 European Vascular Center Aachen-Maastricht, Maastricht – The Netherlands and Aachen – Germany

    The major problem with arteriovenous grafts (AVGs) is that their hemodynamic pathway leads to formation of neointimal hyperplasia (NIH). Reduction of unfavorable hemodynamics by altering the geometry of the graft appears to be a promising approach in counteracting the occurrence of NIH and thereby increasing AVG patency (1.2). Despite promising results shown by computational fluid dynamic CFD studies, in vivo graft patency has not dramatically increased (3.4) This discrepancy might be caused by highly idealized AVG configuration and neglected flow towards the peripheral vasculature by applied CFD strategies. A systematic review was conducted to evaluate the effect of geometrically modified AVGs on graft patency (5). In addition a CFD study was conducted to develop a modeling setup that serve as a realistic baseline for AVG simulations and that could be extended in future studies to evaluate the efficacy of new graft designs (6). 
    The PubMed and Embase (OvidSP) electronic database were systematically searched for relevant studies analyzing the effect of geometrically modified AVGs on graft patency. In the CFD study, two physiological distal boundary condition models were developed that represented the peripheral vasculature. Furthermore, a clinical imaging based AVG parameterization was created that was parameterized to allow for implementation and evaluation of new graft designs in future studies. We assessed how hemodynamic metrics related to AVG dysfunction were impacted by graft geometry (idealized or realistic) and the applied distal boundary condition model (2 × physiological or non-physiological).
    The meta-analysis shows that geometric modifications significantly improve AVG patency. The CFD study demonstrated that hemodynamic metrics related to AVG dysfunction are highly dependent on the distal boundary condition model and the geometry used. Consequently, the hemodynamic benefit of a novel graft design can be misrepresented when evaluated using either idealized geometries or non-physiological boundary conditions. For future studies on graft performance we propose that realistic parameterized AVG geometries are used in combination with physiological boundary conditions.

    1.     Lee T, Haq NU. New Developments in Our Understanding of Neointimal Hyperplasia. [cited 2019 Jul 30]; Available here. 
    2.     Haruguchi H, Teraoka S. Intimal hyperplasia and hemodynamic factors in arterial bypass and arteriovenous grafts: a review. J Artif Organs. 2003/12/24. 2003;6(4):227–35. 
    3.     Moufarrej A, Tordoir J, Mees B. Graft modification strategies to improve patency of prosthetic arteriovenous grafts for hemodialysis. J Vasc Access [Internet]. 2016;17:S85–90. Available here. 
    4.     Li L, Terry CM, Blumenthal DK, Kuji T, Masaki T, Kwan BC, et al. Cellular and morphological changes during neointimal hyperplasia development in a porcine arteriovenous graft model. Nephrol Dial Transpl. 2007/07/03. 2007;22(11):3139–46. 
    5.     Sawo P, Moufarrej A, Sloff M, Delhaas T, Tordoir J, Mees B. The effect of geometrically modified
    graft on arteriovenous graft patency in hemodialysis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. UNPUBLISHED STUDY 
    6.         Quicken S, Mees B, Zonnebeld N, Tordoir J, Huberts W, Delhaas T. A realistic arteriovenous
                dialysis graft model for haemodynamic simulations. UNPUBLISHED STUDY  

    Pamir Sawo, XS-GRAFT

    Pamir Sawo was born in 1984 in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. As a refugee, he came to the Netherlands in 1996. In 1998 he started with lower secondary school (MAVO). After graduation in 2002 he started with higher secondary school (HAVO), which he finished successfully in 2004, followed by studying Life Science (HLO) at University of Applied Science in Rotterdam (Hogeschool Rotterdam). In 2006 he started pre-university education (VWO) which resulted in admission to Maastricht University, Faculty of Medicine. In 2015 he was qualified as a medical doctor. From May 2016 he has been working as a PhD-Candidate at Maastricht University Medical Centre+. Within InSciTe he works on the XS-Graft project, developing a novel non-degradable vascular access graft for dialysis patients. 

  • Biobased

    The development of renewable thiol-yne ‘click’ networks based on modified lignin for resins applications, Monika Jedrzejxcyk (Lignin RICHES)

    M.A. Jedrzejczyk1, K.V. Bernaerts

    1. Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM), Faculty of Science and Engineering, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands. 

    Lignin is one of the most abundant biopolymers, and it is the biggest resource of natural aromatic compounds. However, depending on lignin source it has a different structure, and thus properties. Nevertheless, it is an attractive raw material to be converted into biobased chemical building blocks, which can be furtherly used in polymers, fuels, and as a source of chemicals. [1, 2] State-of-the-art lignin-based resins include the application of the chemistries such as: epoxide, phenol-formaldehyde, benzoxazine, polyester and polyurethane. [3] ‘Click’ chemistry approaches: azide-alkyne cycloaddition, Diels-Alder and thiol-ene reactions were described on lignin-based materials. [4] The alternative solution is proposed in this communication: thiol-yne chemistry (Figure 1). In comparison to the thiol-ene chemistry, the functionality of lignin is doubled, due to the tandem thiol-yne and thiol-ene reactions, which can lead to increased crosslinking density.

    Lignin RICHES

    Figure 1. Concept scheme of the lignin-based thiol-yne networks 

    In this approach, lignin was functionalized with alkyne groups, followed by crosslinking with a multifunctional thiol, yielding in polymeric network formation. The influence of the resin mixture composition and curing parameters on the resins performance was studied. Thiol-yne resins may be an interesting alternative to the phenol-formaldehyde resins, currently used as adhesives and coatings. The main benefits over the phenol-formaldehyde approach are milder curing conditions, improved lignin reactivity, and more user and environmental friendly characteristics.

    [1] B. M. Upton, A. M. Kasko, Chem Rev, 2016, 116, pp. 2275
    [2] Z. Sun, B. Balint, Chem Rev, 2018, 118, pp. 614 
    [3] F.H. Isikgor, C. R. Becer, Polym Chem, 2015, 6, pp. 4497
    [4] P. Bruno, A. Duval, ChemSusChem, 2018, 11, pp. 2472

    Monika Jedrzejczyk, Lignin RICHES

    Monika Jedrzejczyk was born on December 12th 1991 in Opoczno, Poland. She graduated from her BSc. in Chemical technology, at the Lodz University of Technology (Poland) in January 2014. The program she selected was specialized in organic chemistry. Afterwards, she continued her education on MSc. level in Nanotechnology, at the Lodz University of Technology, which she completed in July 2015. Her bachelor project, in the group of prof. Stefan Jankowski, concentrated on the synthesis of a modified, cyclic pentapeptide for drug application. During her master thesis, which she did under guidance of prof. Halina Abramczyk, she explored metal nanoparticles synthesis methods and nanoparticles application in biological studies. During her master studies, she took part in 5 months Erasmus Plus exchange programme at the University of Twente, where she was working on the polymer development for gene delivery under supervision of dr. Jos Paulusse.  In addition, she took part in multiple projects and internships connected with pharmacy, health studies and analytical chemistry. In 2016, Monika Jedrzejczyk started her PhD in organic/polymer chemistry in Katrien Bernaerts group at AMIBM, Maastricht University. Her project focuses on lignin modification and development of various, lignin-based final products, such as adhesives, coatings and additives.

  • Biomedical

    Polysaccharide based hydrospacer for treating cartilage defects, Marco Mihajlovic (MimiCart)

    Marko Mihajlovic1.2, Rienk Schuiringa2, Margot Rikkers3, Carl Schuurmans1, Keita Ito2,3, Tina Vermonden1

    1 Division of Pharmaceutics, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
    2 Orthopaedic Biomechanics, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
    3 Department of Orthopaedics, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

    Hydrogels are amongst the most suitable biomaterials for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine because of their capacity to absorb large amounts of water and thereby mimicking the properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM). 
    In particular, in the case of cartilage tissue damage, these materials can play an important role, as cartilage displays limited self-healing ability. Therefore, by combining biocompatible hydrogels with chondrocytes, it is possible to fabricate implants that can help regenerate damaged tissue. Chondroitin sulfate (CS) is an anionic linear polysaccharide which is found in native cartilage tissue of articular joints. Furthermore, hyaluronic acid (HA) is another important component of articular cartilage, which makes hydrogels based on CS and HA potentially useful for cartilage regenerative therapies1-3. However, such biodegradable biomaterials often lack mechanical properties when compared to synthetic hydrogels. In order to overcome this drawback, while maintaining swelling capacity and biological activity, a glycosaminoglycan-based hydrogel is embedded within a degradable knitted spacer fabric, e.g. made of poly-L-lactic acid (PLA), a synthetic, biodegradable polymer. Hydrogels, confined in such a spacer fabric should result in a scaffold with increased resistance to compressive forces approaching that of native cartilage. 
    Within MimiCart project, CS and HA biopolymers were synthetically modified, introducing reactive methacrylate pending functionalities. Upon dissolution in aqueous medium, these polymers were further cross-linked using UV light to yield a hydrogel. In the first step the aim was to functionalize both polymers such that the degree of methacrylation was around 30%. Composition of the hydrogel was then varied, in terms of CSMA and HAMA ratio, to reach hydrogel stability of at least 2 months. Currently, the gels with a ratio of CSMA:HAMA of 6.5 and total polymer concentration of 10 wt% display stability of over 4 months. This composition was used to fabricate hydrogels within a PLA knitted scaffold. When allowed to swell in medium, hydrospacer resulted in reduced swelling by 30% compared to a free hydrogel. Hydrogel combined with the spacer fabric displayed higher Young’s modulus than hydrogel alone. Currently, confined compression testing and cell encapsulation studies are being conducted, paving the way towards the fabrication of a cell-laden scaffold for cartilage regeneration.

    1 Nature Materials (2007) 6, 385; 
    2 Bone Research (2017) 5, 17014; 
    3 Scientific Reports (2016) 6, 20014; 

    Acknowledgements: Chemelot InSciTe, RegMed XB, Utrecht University, Eindhoven University of Technology

    Marco Mihajlovic, MimiCart

    Marko Mihajlovic obtained his PhD from the Eindhoven University of Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, in May 2018. He worked on the development of supramolecular hydrogels based on hydrophobic interactions and characterization of their viscoelastic and mechanical properties. He investigated the strength of the hydrophobic interactions based on long, hydrophobic fatty moieties, proving that their strength is close to that of weak covalent bonds, which is responsible for remarkable toughness of such supramolecular hydrogels. 

    Since July 2018 he is a postdoctoral researcher between Eindhoven University of Technology (Orthopaedic Biomechanics) and Utrecht University (Pharmaceutics), where he works on design and synthesis of hydrogels based on polysaccharides. Within the MimiCart project, he is focused on fabrication of biomaterial-based hydrogels, suitable for mimicking articular cartilage. Polysaccharide-based hydrogels should be characterized by swelling capacity, long-term stability and cytocompatibility towards chondrocytes. He is also responsible for characterizing mechanical, viscoelastic and physico-chemical properties of the hydrogels.  

  • Other

    Closing ceremony and Poster & Presentation Award by Marc van Doorn (Business Development Manager Brightlands Chemelot Campus)

    On the first day of our Annual meeting, we organize a session 'Poster Pitches'. Every presenter has one minute to pitch their poster to engage the audience. Based on the assessment of a handpicked expert jury, the best poster and presentation prizes will be awarded.

    Brightlands generously sponsores these Poster and Presentation Awards, which will be handed out by Brightlands' Marc van Doorn in the closing award ceremony on Wednesday 9 October. 

    Marc van Doorn, Business Development Manager Brightlands Chemelot Campus

    Marc van Doorn is a senior consultant working in the business development group of Brightlands Chemelot Campus. He is the participants representative for the campus its scientific participations especially in the biobased arena. After receiving his Msc Degree at the University of Eindhoven he started his career at DSM in the polymer development group. After several functions in polymer technology and production, he changed his career towards the Agro businesses where his last function was Commercial Director for OCI. During his career Marc always worked in the interface between commerce and technology. He is now especially enthusiastic about creating meaningful results in reducing climate change.