Advisory Board

Prof. dr. Ben Feringa

Feringa photoBen L. Feringa obtained his PhD degree at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands under the guidance of Professor Hans Wynberg. After working as a research scientist at Shell in the Netherlands and at the Shell Biosciences Centre in the UK, he was appointed lecturer and in 1988 full professor at the University of Groningen and named the Jacobus H. van’t Hoff Distinguished Professor of Molecular Sciences in 2004. research program of the Feringa group is focussed on synthetic organic chemistry. Over the years a unique expertise in stereochemistry has been acquired. Inspired by nature’s principles of molecular assembly, recognition, transport, motion and catalysis, the goal is to exploit the full potential of synthetic chemistry to create new structures and functions. A major part of the research is directed towards nanotechnology and novel functional materials, such as molecular switches and motors. A second part of the program deals with the development (and application in chemical biology) of novel stereoselective synthesis methods and asymmetric catalysis. Control of chirality is the guiding principle in both programs.

Prof. dr. Erik Heeres

Erik photoErik Heeres graduated, in 1990, from the University of Groningen, with a thesis on the development of novel homogeneous lanthanide catalysts for the conversion of unsaturated hydrocarbons. Afterwards, he performed a post-doctoral research at the University of Oxford, in the group of J.M. Brown on asymmetric catalysis. From 1991 to 1999, he was employed at Shell Research, in Amsterdam and Pernis. He graduated, in 1990, from the University of Groningen, with a thesis on the development of novel homogeneous lanthanide catalysts for the conversion of unsaturated hydrocarbons. His research interests concern acid-based and metal-based catalytic biomass conversions, with an emphasis on biofuels (pyrolysis oil upgrading), platform chemicals and performance materials from biomass. The group is actively involved in national and international consortia (for example, the European Union 6th framework project Biocoup) dealing with catalytic pyrolysis oil upgrading. He is the (co-)author of 85 papers in international peer reviewed journals and 7 patents in the field of (applied) catalysis and chemical reaction engineering. 

Dr Katalin Barta

Barta photoResearch in the Barta group is centered around sustainability and Green Chemistry with a special focus on the conversion of renewable resources and catalysis using earth-abundant metals. A variety of research lines include reductive and hydrogen-neutral depolymerisation and defunctionalization of lignin to aromatic monomers. Similarly, reductive approaches using copper catalysts are used for the conversion of cellulose and derived platform chemicals to a variety of end products. Here, the central aim is to find new concepts that allow to deal with complexity and changed material inputs and to identify causes of and minimize side reactions which lead to decreased product yields. In addition, we are involved in developing new methods for iron-catalysed coupling of alcohols and amines as well as hydrogenation of carbonyl compounds including esters also in an asymmetric fashion.