Cosmicologists – part 1

photo Cosmicologists, we’ve termed ourselves. Perhaps a bit self-indulgent, but bear with us. Spirits are high as the 15 of us early-stage researchers had our official project kick-off meeting in Leuven. We are part of a consortium that consist of 8 beneficiaries and 4 partner organizations from 8 different countries. We aim to support and train the chemical process industry in transitioning from batch to continuous production by introducing novel technologies – an ambitious endeavor that humbly instills enthusiasm, or maybe not so humbly.

Being part of the European Training Network is a great opportunity for us because we can be part of a global team collaborating on a project with real industrial application. To get an idea of how “global” our research team is – we are from 7 different countries with our furthest researcher from Colombia!

Introducing our team today, we begin with the organic chemists. They focus on the interaction of ultrasound and microwaves with the reactants and the reaction products of organic-synthesis reactions.

Vidmantas Bieliūnas: After having just finished working with rhodium catalyzed stereoselective reactions for my master’s studies at Vilnius University, I was keen on further pursuing a scientific carrier. So when I first saw the call to participate in COSMIC, the ESR1 position immediately caught my attention. The prospect of simultaneously working with C-H activation reactions, continuous flow systems and modern energy transfer methods was both challenging and exciting. And now here I am, taking the first steps in the adaptation of C-H activation chemistry for the European industry. I am not going to deny that this is going to be a tough job, but our team is more than ready to take on the challenge.

ESR2Ana Luísa Maria: At FCT- UNL in Portugal I took the Bachelor in Applied Chemistry and the master degree in Bioorganic Chemistry and had the opportunity to collaborate with an organic research group in the synthesis of new chiral ionic liquids to use as SP’s in GC. In 2014 I started to work in a Portuguese food-QC company. Missing the “research feeling” I decided to change my life and saw in Cosmic project the one shot opportunity. Being Cosmicologist ESR2 focus on the use of US and/or MW on the oxidative cleavage of C=C of fatty acids and further hydrogenation of the products obtained, I have the pleasure to collaborate with a fantastic team to achieve the main goals of the project.

Prabhat Ranjan: During my graduation in BHU, I had gone through so many cases of medical inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Tough competition of Indian subcontinent compelled me to focus on my own studies rather than sailing across the interest towards altruism. With time, I started my post-graduation from IIT Roorkee. Despite of being the part of most prominent colleges of Indian subcontinent, I could not satisfy myself. I always wanted to study and work on humanity related topics, so that I would be able to influence the poorest of the poor through my work. The time has come when I will start working on my dream project. My college K.U Leuven is giving me the chance to work on privileged molecule. I hope the experience of this project would be similar to the cosmic project which brought the plethora of knowledge and positive attitude.

Busra Ekim Sarac: I graduated from Physics, then I continued on my MSc study in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. I have a diverse experience and educational background, a well-coupled combination of fundamental physics knowledge and applied materials and processing. When I was writing my MSc thesis, I saw the call for open PhD positions of COSMIC and ESR position 4 took my attention. It is related to both physics, chemistry and materials processing. It is exactly what I want! Now, I focus on investigation of physical and chemical effects in small, sonicated flow channels; in other words, my aim is to convert sound into light: sonoluminescence! Being a part of this multinational research team that comes together to make a contribution in advancing of chemical processing industry is a great opportunity.

Next time we’ll introduce the next batch of chemists (so much for continuous processes). Stay connected and follow us!

About Jeroen