home  >  programme  >  focus sessions

Tuesday 10 December (11:45 - 13:05 hrs)


Analytical challenges for innovative engineered antibody-based biopharmaceuticals

Chaired by Albert Heck (UU)

Antibody based biopharmaceuticals are at the center stage of innovative future medicines. Next to original mAbs, new platforms such as antibody-drug conjugates, bispecific antibodies, and fusion proteins are engineered to improve efficacy. Moreover, the host platform used for recombinant production is showing more flexibility with the use of human cell lines, and even in situ production. All these new biopharmaceuticals are chemically more complex, and put on new demands concerning the analytical characterization. Here we will highlight innovations in analytical methodologies used for such extensive characterization, providing examples from both industry and academia.



  • Eef Dirksen (Synthon Biopharmaceuticals BV): Investigating higher order protein structure: putting the pieces of the analytical puzzle together

  • Sheena Smith (University of Zurich): In situ production of therapeutic antibodies

  • Christoph Gstöttner (LUMC): Structural and functional characterization of monoclonal antibodies and new antibody formats by mass spectrometry

Beyond Arrhenius - vibrationally promoted conversion of inert molecules

Chaired by Jörg Meyer (LEI)

Efficient routes to the selective activation of small, inert molecules are highly desirable for the development of sustainable green fertilizers and carbon sources. For reactions on solid surfaces, vibrational activation could provide "short-cuts” compared to conventional thermally-driven reactivity (Arrhenius’s law) – if the molecular vibrational energy does not dissipate too fast.


  • Kai Golibrzuch (Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry): Interaction of vibrationally excited CO scattering off Au(111): sticking, desorption and vibrational relaxation

  • Thanja Lamberts (LEI): Vibrational lifetime of CO on NaCl(100): role of the molecule-surface bond?

  • Qin Ong (DIFFER): Vibrational excitement: from CO2 to CO

Chemical Innovation for Circularity

Chaired by Chris Slootweg (UvA); Organised in collaboration with Holland Chemistry and MVO

Scientific challenges are in the field of expanding the scope of sustainability to the entire lifecycle of resources and products, with the aim to replace today's linear ‘take–make–dispose’ approach with newly developed, more sustainable, processes. This will help to mitigate environmental concerns and reduce the impact of waste on the environment. Novel technologies and innovations are needed to optimize resource efficiency across value chains and promote a closed-loop, waste-free industry, which will also contribute to realizing the circular economy and securing our sustainable future. 


  • Jean-Paul Lange (Shell / UT): Plastic recycling - a first step towards a circular carbochemical economy

  • Esther Zondervan-van den Beuken (TNO): PACK-CE: Accelerate the use of recyclable multi-layer food packaging for the transition to a circular economy

  • Gert-Jan Gruter (Avantium / UvA): Plastic materials in a future circular economy

Entrepreneurship in chemistry - opportunities, threats, truth and examples

Chaired by Peter van Tilburg; Organised by KNCV/CMG

Starting a company involved in chemistry requires besides the right people an unique set of skills (vision, knowledge of financing, contracts, location, execution, time lines) typically not present at entrepreneurs. We would like to show you that although it looks impossible it is still doable to create your own company.


  • Leendert van den Bos (CEO EnzyTag): EnzyTag; the first ten months of a biotech start-up (ups and downs).

  • Ronald Mooijer (UvA): How to stimulate entrepreneurship in chemistry from a university

  • Pieter Imhof (CEO BioBTX): Can a small startup jump towards sustainable, large scale commercial manufacturing in two years?

Flowing towards sustainability

Chaired by Ulf Hanefeld (TUD)

The vast majority of all chemical reactions performed are batch reactions. This, although continuous reactions in flow are faster, more environmentally benign and safer due the smaller reactor volume. This session will focus on the engineering and the chemistry of reactions in flow. 

  • Heidrun Gruber-Wölfler (Graz University of Technology): Multistep synthesis of APIs in continuous flow using heterogeneous Pd catalysis

  • Andre de Vries (InnoSyn BV): 3D Metal Printing; Creating Industrial Flow Reactors for Demanding Type of Chemistries 

  • Fabio Tonin (TUD): Enzymatic synthesis of UDCA in continuous flow: challenges and solutions

Materials and interfaces for next-generation batteries

Chaired by Peter Ngene (UU)

There is an enormous interest to develop next generation batteries with high capacity and improved safety, hence, suitable for portable electronics and for large-scale stationary energy storage and electric vehicles. This focus session will discuss the challenges, most recent developments and the future prospects for these new types of battery. 


  • Jürgen Janek (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen): Next generation batteries: challenges, current trends and prospects

  • Marnix Wagemaker (TUD): Interface processes in next generation batteries

  • Laura de Kort (UU): Metal hydride-based nanocomposites as electrolytes for all-solid-state batteries

Seeing how proteins disrupt and (de)form lipid membranes

Chaired by Patrick van der Wel (RUG)

The vital (but also toxic) interplay between proteins and lipids is long known, but has remained difficult to disentangle in molecular detail. Recent years have seen powerful experimental techniques increasingly address this challenge, enabling a molecular visualization of membrane disruption, membrane fusion and polypeptide-lipid interactions in unprecedented detail.


  • Mireille Claessens (UT): Disruptive membrane interactions of alpha-synuclein aggregates

  • Rafael Lira (RUG): A combined optical-mechanical assay to detect membrane fusion using giant unilamellar vesicles

  • João Medeiros-Silva (UU): High-Resolution Studies of the Nisin-Lipid II Pore in Cellular Membranes

Synthesis by Design

Chaired by Jeroen Codée (LEI)

This focus session will bridge organic chemistry and computational chemistry to illustrate how state-of-the-art computational chemistry is employed to understand reactivity and how reactivity can be used to steer the design and synthesis of new molecules.



  • Keith Woerpel (New York University): Stereoselective Addition Reactions to Carbon Electrophiles: Conformational Analysis, Stereoelectronic Effects, and Reactivity

  • Trevor Hamlin (VU): How Dihalogen Catalyze Michael Addition Reaction

  • Thomas Hansen (LEI): Defining the SN1 side of glycosylation reactions: stereoselectivity of glycopyranosyl cations

Synthetic extracellular matrices – how to design functional hydrogels?

Chaired by Paul Kouwer (RU)

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a complex mixture of biopolymers that forms a 3D environment that hosts cells. This focus session will discuss what aspects of this complex material are important to mimic in synthetic equivalents; architecture, mechanical properties, dynamicity, incorporation of bioactive components? Can and should we mimic nature? 


  • Laura De Laporte (DWI–Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials): Synthetic building blocks for advanced biomedicine

  • Matt Baker (UM): Designing dynamic hydrogels for tissue engineering

  • Kaizheng Liu (RU): Synthetic fibrous hydrogels that unravel cell-extracellular matrix interactions

The potential of catalytic reactions that count on direct renewable energy input via electrons and photons

Chaired by Maurice Mourad (ARC CBBC)

The synthesis of chemical building blocks based on renewable energy input is a serious challenge for our chemical industry. This focus session explores the potential of energy transfer from electricity and (sun)light via innovative catalytic reactions based on electrochemistry and electron plasmon resonances.


  • Ib Chorkendorff (Technical University of Denmark): Electrochemical Conversion of Sustainable Energy

  • Monique van der Veen (TUD): Disentangling the different effects of plasmonic particles on catalysis

  • Erik Garnett (AMOLF): Electron cavity-enhanced catalysis


NWO logo - JPG klein.jpg

CHAINS 2019 is organised by NWO Domain Science with the support of partners Holland Chemistry and KNCV