Confirmed Plenary Speakers
Prof. Jonathan Goodman (University of Cambridge, UK)
Lecture Title - Chemical Information: building bridges for chemistry
During his PhD at the University of Cambridge, Jonathan Goodman did experiments and calculations on the boron-mediated aldol reaction, working for Prof. Ian Paterson FRS. After a post-doc with Professor Clark Still at Columbia University, he returned to the chemistry department at Cambridge where he is now Professor of Chemistry and a Fellow of Clare College. He is currently chair of the CSA Trust, chair of trustees of the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre, secretary of the IUPAC-InChI subcommittee and a committee member of the RSC's Chemical Information and Computer Applications Group (CICAG). His research interests focus on working out the properties of molecules from their structures, including the spectra, reactivity and toxicology.
Gerhard Grübel is a Professor at the University of Hamburg (Germany) and headed the DESY research group on coherent X-ray scattering. The group investigates the structure and dynamics of complex and molecular fluids with coherent X-ray from storage ring sources and free-electron lasers. Grübel co-developed new coherence based scattering methods, XCCA (X-ray Cross Correlation Analysis) and XPCS (X-ray Photon Correlation Spectroscopy). For the latter, he was honoured with the "Arthur H. Compton Award" of the Advanced Photon Source APS at Argonne Laboratory (USA) in 2009. He also coordinated the Centre for Molecular Water Science (CMWS) at DESY and works now for the European XFEL in Hamburg.
Prof. Gerhard Grübel (University of Hamburg, Germany)
Prof. Javier García Martínez (IUPAC President)
Confirmed Keynote Speakers
Nine keynote speakers will take the stage to present chemical research that is being conducted in Flemish universities: Prof. Eveline Peeters (VUB), Prof. Kristof Van Hecke (Ghent University), Prof. Sandra Van Vlierberghe (Ghent University), Prof. Simon Kuhn (KU Leuven), Prof. Wouter Maes (Hasselt University), Prof. Steven Van Passel (University of Antwerp), Prof. Sebastian Oberthur (VUB), and Prof. Kristel Bernaerts (KU Leuven). Prof. Kristel Bernaerts will be presenting together with Tine Cattoor (Essenscia). We also welcome a speaker from Janssen Pharmaceutica (Beerse, Belgium): Dr. Ilse Vogels.
Prof. Eveline Peeters (VUB)
Lecture Title - Synthetic biology as a driving force for biobased production of chemicals using microbial cell factories
Eveline Peeters graduated in 2002 as a Bioengineer in Chemistry, option Environmental Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and obtained a PhD in Bioengineering Sciences in 2007 at the same university. During her PhD, Eveline Peeters specialized in the study of microorganisms that thrive in extreme conditions. She performed several research stays, a.o. in the University of Groningen (Netherlands), the Pasteur Institute in Paris (France) and the University of Copenhagen (Denmark). In 2014 she was appointed as a professor at the VUB Department of Bioengineering Sciences, where she started leading a research team that performs research in the fields of molecular microbiology and synthetic biology. In this team, fundamental research is combined with application-driven research, thereby exploring the use and engineering of microorganisms as cell factories for the production of chemicals and materials. Besides continuing the work on extremophiles, new research lines have been established focusing on bacteria and fungi. The research output of Eveline Peeters consists of 48 international peer-reviewed journal publications and 3 book chapters, H-index= 17. Of note are publications in top tier journals including Nature Communications, Nature Reviews Microbiology and Nucleic Acid Research. Besides her academic activities, Eveline Peeters is dedicated to contributing to the community of microbiology researchers in Belgium, as the President of the Belgian Society for Microbiology (since November 2019) and to performing outreach activities (such as public lectures) on the topic of the importance of microorganisms for the transition to a biobased industry and economy.
Kristof Van Hecke is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, Ghent University. From October 2011 on, he made the transfer from KU Leuven to UGent to build his own research group XStruct (https://www.xstruct.ugent.be; @XStruct_group). As the name says, the research is strongly built upon X-ray structure analysis, which is still by far the most accurate way to obtain 3D molecular structures at the atomic level, and which lends itself perfectly to multidisciplinary research. In fact, Van Hecke’s training as a biochemist and crystallographer enables him to make the right combination between solid-state chemistry, materials research, and biologically relevant applications. Currently, the focus lies on two research lines; 1) Bio-Inorganic Chemistry (topics: metal-polypyridyl and metal-NHC complexes for antitumor applications and cyclodextrin metal-organic frameworks (CD-MOFs) for drug delivery and sensing applications) and 2) Crystal growth (topics: Crystallization, nucleation and crystal growth of coordination polymers, MOFs and covalent organic frameworks (COFs)). Recently, a new research line on co-crystal engineering of room-temperature phosphorescent flexible crystals was initiated, which testifies to the dynamism in the research group.
Prof. Kristof Van Hecke (Ghent University)
Prof. Sandra Van Vlierberghe (Ghent University)
Lecture Title - Photo-crosslinkable polymer platform: From bioinks to shape memory polymers
Sandra Van Vlierberghe holds a guest professorship at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and a (research) professorship (100% BOF-ZAP) at Ghent University (Polymer Chemistry & Biomaterials Group, Belgium). She has acquired expertise related to the synthesis, the modification and the processing of (bio)polymers including thermoplasts (e.g. polyesters) and hydrogels (e.g. proteins and polysaccharides) for a variety of tissue engineering applications. She is experienced in the field of polymer processing using laser- and extrusion-based 3D printing and electrospinning. She received her PhD in Sciences in 2008 at Ghent University. She authored >195 Web of Science Core Collection cited papers, she has a h-index of 40 (WoS), is promoter of 20 PhD students (in addition to 12 defended PhDs) and she edited three books, authored 7 chapters in books of which 5 invited. She is treasurer of the Belgian Polymer Group (BPG), secretary of BSTE, steering committee member of GATE, former spokesperson of the ‘Young Scientist Forum (YSF)’, TERMIS-EU council member, ESB council member and former member of the independent ESB Awards Committee. She serves on the editorial board of several journals focussing on polymer-based biomaterials. In 2017, she received the Jean Leray award from the European Society for Biomaterials. She is also very active in research valorization as reflected by ongoing spin-off project GelGraft Medical which is focussing on the translation of an injectable biomaterial for breast reconstruction from in vivo animal testing towards first in-human trials. She is co-founder and scientific advisor of spin-off BIO INX (https://bioinx.com/) commercializing inks for 3D-printing and biofabrication purposes.
Simon Kuhn is a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at KU Leuven where he has been a faculty member since 2014. Simon completed his PhD at ETH Zurich and his undergraduate studies at TU Munich. After a postdoctoral position at MIT, Simon joined University College London as assistant professor before moving to Leuven in 2014. His research interests lie in the characterization of transport processes in complex flows using experiments and simulations, scaling-up microreaction systems, and the design of novel flow reactors incorporating alternative activation modes (light, ultrasound, electrochemistry).
Prof. Simon Kuhn (KU Leuven)
Prof. Wouter Maes (Hasselt University)
Lecture Title - Tailored molecular design of organic chromophores – from thermally activated delayed fluorescence to dual-functioning photosensitizers
Wouter Maes obtained his PhD in organic chemistry at the KU Leuven in 2005 under supervision of Prof. W. Dehaen. Afterwards he worked as a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) within the same group, focusing on porphyrinoid materials. Postdoctoral research stays were conducted in Paris (Prof. E. Rose) and Oxford (Prof. H. Anderson). In November 2009, he was appointed Assistant Professor at Hasselt University. At present, he is Full Professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department at Hasselt University. His research group focuses on the synthesis of novel conjugated (polymer) materials for organic electronics and advanced healthcare.
Steven Van Passel is full professor Environmental Economics at Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Engineering Management of the University of Antwerp. His research concentrates on the economic and sustainability assessment of clean technology and energy & agricultural systems and on the interaction between economy, technology and ecology. Steven Van Passel is author or co-author of over 185 peer-reviewed WoS and he supervised 22 finished PhDs. He is/was involved in 81 projects for over 15 million Euro for his research group.
Prof. Steven Van Passel (University of Antwerp)
Prof. Sebastian Oberthur (VUB)
Lecture Title - Towards a climate-neutral chemical industry in Europe: Governance & Policy
Sebastian Oberthür is professor of environment and sustainable development at the VUB’s Brussels School of governance and professor of environmental policy and law at the University of Eastern Finland’s Center for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law. He is also co-director of the Brussels School’s Centre for Environment, Economy and Energy and coordinator of the international Jean Monnet Network ‘Governing the EU’s Climate and Energy Transition in Turbulent Times’ (GOVTRAN). Trained as a political scientist with a strong background in international law, Sebastian Oberthür has dealt with issues of international and European environmental and climate policy since the early 1990s. He has worked on the development and implementation of various international environmental agreements and institutions, European climate governance and the role of the EU in international environmental/climate policy. Sebastian is author and editor of more than 10 books in these fields.
Lecture Title - Impact Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability on chemical research and development (lecture together with Tine Cattoors)
Kristel Bernaerts is a Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering at KU Leuven. After obtaining a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences at KU Leuven and a postdoctoral position at KU Leuven and TU Delft, she was appointed assistant professor in the field of industrial biotechnology at KU Leuven in 2010. Her interdisciplinary and collaborative research focusses on bioprocess design, analysis, and modelling based on bioengineering principles. Diverse and versatile applications are from bioprocess optimization for heterologous protein production, investigation of metabolic interactions and emerging dynamics of microbial communities linked to oral biofilms and the gut microbiome, to studies on phage-host dynamics. In addition, K. Bernaerts has developed a strong engagement in Health, Safety and Environment at various levels. She is currently holder of the essenscia chair for Safety Engineering and is program director of the Advanced Master of Safety Engineering at KU Leuven (a unique one-year international program with specializations on process safety and occupational safety). She is management board member of the European Chemical Agency.
Prof. Kristel Bernaerts (KU Leuven)
Tine Cattoor (Essenscia)
Lecture Title - Chemical Process Development of the Milvexian Side Chain
Ilse Vogels is a Principal Scientist at Janssen’s Chemical Process Research and Development group, which she joined after earning her PhD in organic chemistry from the KU Leuven in 2004 under the supervision of Prof. Hoornaert and Prof. Compernolle. In the first years of her career at Janssen she contributed to the early-stage development of a multitude of new Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), by developing new synthesis processes and introducing them in the pilot plant to enable the production of the first kilograms of material needed for Toxicology and First-in-Human studies. In recent years her attention shifted towards projects in mid- to late-stage development, with a focus on process optimization, process transfers to internal and external production plants and filing strategies for late-phase clinical trials and marketing authorization.