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Wednesday 11 December (10:20 - 11:40 hrs)


Adaptive materials and soft robotics

Chaired by Danqing Liu (TU/e)

Soft Robotics is an emerging field of research which aims to create robotic functions of soft and compliant materials. Unlike traditional ‘hard’ robots that have rigid underlying structures, soft robots can adapt their shapes and/or their elasticity/stiffness to their environment, thus providing functions that are new in the robotic world. To achieve this, novel materials are needed that are capable of autonomously responding and adapting to their environment. Nature is a great source of inspiration for designing such materials. In this focus session we will bring together researchers from mechanochemistry, supramolecular chemistry, polymer science, materials science, soft matter, and industrial design to discuss the advances and possibilities in this emerging field from different perspectives.


  • Nathalie Katsonis (UT): Mechanical adaptability of artificial muscles from nanoscale molecular action

  • Dick Broer (TU/e): Fingerprint dynamics from a chiral polymer perspective

  • Miguel Bruns (TU/e): Towards fully soft robots using soft fluidic circuits

  • Luuk van Laake (AMOLF): Designing for Interactive Materiality

Bio-orthogonal chemistry and catalysis

Chaired by Lorenzo Albertazzi (TU/e)

The booming field of bio-orthogonal chemistry and catalysis aims at performing chemical reactions in vivo to activate drugs or make useful compounds in concert with natural enzymes. The aim of this session is to bring together groups from different expertise (organic and polymer chemistry, catalysis, nano-bio-technology) to tackle this multidisciplinary big challenge. 



  • Raffaella Rossin (Tagworks BV): Click-to-release strategies for ADCs

  • Asier Unciti-Broceta (Edinburgh University): Safe on their own, cytotoxic together

  • Reinder de Vries (RUG): Bioorthogonal catalytic hydroborylation and silylation of peptides and proteins

Characterization of bio-oxidation-driven biomass conversion

Chaired by Mirjam Kabel (WUR)

The ability of oxidative enzymes to boost the degradation of plant biomass has greatly stimulated research efforts and biocatalytic applications within the biorefinery field. This session will focus on the role of copper enzymes in lignocellulose conversion, the chemical characterization of products and prediction of metabolic pathways for further valorization.  


  • Vincent Eijsink (NMBU - Norwegian University of Life Sciences): Oxidative monocopper enzymes that accelerate glycoside hydrolase conversion of lignocellulosic biomass

  • Roelant Hilgers (Wageningen University): Mechanistic insights in lignin degradation by laccase/mediator systems

  • Miia Mäkelä (University of Helsinki): The response of a white-rot fungus to lignocellulose-related aromatic compounds provides leads for the production of novel biobased products

Chemical Innovations for Climate 

Chaired by Joost Reek (UvA); Organised by Holland Chemistry

This year, Holland Chemistry and NWO want to work together to highlight the importance of PPP projects and feature some important project results on reduction of greenhouse gases and climate adaptation. The focus session will start with an introduction of the NWO PPP-instruments, followed by two duo presentations (private-public). The session will be informative, will have interaction and will be very interesting to attend!


  • Marnix Wagemaker (TUD) + Guy Verbist (Shell): SPEAR - Solid and Polymer Electrolyte Advanced Research 

  • Michail Tsampas (DIFFER) +  Kees-Jan Westrate (Syngaschem): Syncat - Electricity to Chemistry, Catalysis for Energy Storage 

Chemicals From Wastewater

Chaired by Boelo Schuur (UT); Organised by KNCV/KIVI

Industrial wastewater streams contain a vast amount of resources. Instead of making biogas through anaerobic digestion, it is also possible with innovative new processes to recover chemicals from the digested wastewater. In this focus session chemistry and latest developments in wastewater treatment including downstream operations and chemical conversions are discussed.


  • René Rozendal (Paques): Exploiting Microbial Biochemistry for Resource Recovery from Industrial Wastewaters

  • Carlos Cabrera (Greencovery B.V.): Natural ingredients from food industry side streams

  • Vahideh Elhami (UT): Bio-based production route PHA and derivatives thereof

Chemistry in Space – Gas, Ice and PAHs

Chaired by Harold Linnartz (LEI)

The chemical processes in space are very different from anything we know on Earth. In order to characterize the chemistry of the heavens, astronomical observations, laboratory experiments and chemical modelling are needed. This session deals with the detection of complex organic molecules in space, the search for exotic ices in proto-planetary disks and the photo-fragmentation behavior of interstellar PAHs.


  • Arnaud Belloche (Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie): Complex organic molecules in the gas phase of the interstellar medium

  • Melissa McClure (UvA): Probing volatile ice reservoirs during star and planet formation

  • Jordy Bouwman (LEI): Photoprocessing of interstellar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Chemistry of Single Particles and Molecules: A Fluorescence Approach

Chaired by Zoran Ristanović (LEI)

This focus session will present current state-of-the-art fluorescence-based microscopy methods to unravel the chemistry of individual nanoparticles by detecting catalytic conversions of single molecules. The speakers will also highlight the emerging approaches, such as super-resolution imaging of non-fluorescent chemical reactions and correlative optical and electron microscopy studies of single particles.


  • Peng Chen (Cornell University): Single-molecule catalysis: fluorescence and beyond

  • Maarten Roeffaers (KU Leuven): Identifying the champion zeolite particles within in a powdered catalyst batch

  • Wiebke Albrecht (University of Antwerp): Correlation of optical and 3D morphological properties for individual metal nanoparticles

Glycans: Structure, Analysis & Synthesis

Chaired by Anouk Rijs (RU)

Elucidating the structure of all glycans (glycomics) and stereo-control their formation is challenging due to their structural similarity of glycans and glycan linkages and the competing reaction pathways. In this focus session novel methods for the unambiguous characterization of glycans and new strategies for their stereoselective synthesis will be discussed. 


  • Isabelle Compagnon (University of Lyon): Post-isomeric barrier Mass Spectrometry of glycans and glycan fragments: towards a generic glycomics technology

  • Geert-Jan Boons (UU): An Automated Platform for the Chemoenzymatic Assembly of Complex Oligosaccharides

  • Hidde Elferink (RU): A Comprehensive Study of Pathway Preference in Chemical Glycosylations

Molecular photoswitches: discovery, understanding and application

Chaired by Wiktor Szymanski (UMCG); Organised by KNCV

Molecular photoswitches are fascinating molecules that respond to light by reversibly changing their structure and properties. This unique property can be utilized to enable light-control of chemical reactions, smart materials and even living systems. The session will focus on the discovery, understanding and application of those fascinating molecules.


  • BACKER PRIZE LECTURE: Michael Lerch (Harvard University): Understanding Donor—Acceptor Stenhouse Adducts 

  • Mark Hoorens (UMCG): Iminothioindoxyl: a fully visible-light-operated photoswitch with 100 nm band separation in aqueous solutions

  • Tibor Kudernac (UT): Towards supramolecular machineries fueled by light

Preserving and propagating genetic information: coupling replication and repair

Chaired by Nynke Dekker (TUD)

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.


  • Puck Knipscheer (Hubrecht Laboratory): Mechanism of DNA replication-coupled G-quadruplex unwinding by DHX36 and FANCJ

  • Humberto Sánchez (TUD): Sliding of the eukaryotic Mcm2-7 complex on single molecules of DNA

  • Joseph Yeeles (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology): Cryo-EM structure of a 1.4 MDa eukaryotic replisome complex at a replication fork


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