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The COAST educational year started with three successful Summer Courses!

August 21-25, HAN University of Applied Sciences and the Radboud University in Nijmegen hosted about 90 enthusiastic students (ASTP & MSc+) and COAST participants from industry and academia who were eager to broaden and deepen their knowledge of analytical science. For 15 talented ASTP freshmen, their summer course marked the beginning of their three years’ ASTP curriculum.

DSC02862 verkleind 2

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COAST PhD student Selma van Staveren (UMC Utrecht and IMPACT consortium) wins Audience Prize in the FameLab pitch contest

In May 2017, Selma van Staveren, COAST PhD student from UMC Utrecht in the IMPACT project, competed in the National Final of the FameLab pitch contest in Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht. In this national final, researchers from Wageningen University and Research, Leiden University, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, VU Amsterdam, Erasmus Rotterdam and Universiteit Utrecht presented their research. Roberto Narcisi, a researcher at the Erasmus MC, won the jury prize with his presentation about stem cells and cartilage repair and represented the Netherlands in the International Final in the UK.

Foto Selma1

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NWA Startimpuls “Meten en Detecteren van gezond gedrag” gehonoreerd!


De Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) heeft op 6 juli 2017 de Nationale Wetenschaps Agenda (NWA) Startimpulsaanvraag Meten en Detecteren van Gezond Gedrag officieel gehonoreerd.

Onder leiding van boegbeeld Marco Beijersbergen en trekker Hubertus Irth is de verzamelde inbreng van vele experts samengebracht in één voorstel. Gekozen is voor het complexe verbindende thema gezondheid van de mens.

De doelstelling is om concrete oplossingen te vinden zes uitdagingen:
• Ontdekking en validatie van (bio)markers/parameters van gezond gedrag
• Bepalen van de blootstelling van individuen aan luchtverontreinigingen
• Ontwikkeling van persoonlijke sensoren voor de monitoring van gezonde voeding
• Ontwikkeling van sensoren voor belangrijke gezondheidsparameters
• Ontwikkeling van Data Science & Chemometrie voor deze toepassingen
• Exploratieve sensorontwikkelingen voor het mobiel monitoren van persoonlijke gezondheid
• De gebruiker: interface en ethiek

De commissie was vooral te spreken over de aangebrachte focus en concretisering van het voorstel. Eveneens werd de aandacht voor ethiek gewaardeerd. Men was te spreken over de verbindingen van onderzoeksgroepen vanuit verschillende sectoren. De track-records van de verschillende groepen bieden veel perspectief voor succesvolle kennisbenutting en -uitbreiding.

Wij feliciteren alle Principal Investigators en betrokkenen met de honorering van deze Startimpuls en hopen op veel vruchtbare samenwerkingen.
NWa MD schedule oud 20170712

COAST’s two-day conference Forum for Analytical Science and Technology (FAST) great success!

On Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 May 2017 COAST’s first two-day conference, Forum for Analytical Science and Technology (FAST) at Koningshof, Veldhoven took place. It was very positively received!

Over 100 scientists, industry representatives, PhD students, PostDocs and MSc+ students attended FAST. During the conference, it became clear how big the COAST community is and how varied the different research fields are. During the scientific part of the conference, the poster sessions and the break, enthusiastic discussions took place between all participants.

The scientific part of the conference included Curiosity presentations (for purely academic research), Challenge presentations (reporting progress in the public-private TA-COAST projects, the TA-COAST program is exectuted by NWO and COAST), Valorization presentations (focused on application of research results in industry and society) and Instruments & Infrastructure presentations. Renowned scientists, like Manfred Wilhelm, Gyorgy Marko-Varga, Thomas Hankermeier and Albert Heck, and promising PhD students and PostDocs shared recent developments in plenary, keynote, and parallel lectures. Parallel lecture sessions were dedicated to the specific application areas Life Sciences, Chemistry/Polymers, Chemistry/Energy & Water, Food Science, and High-Tech.

The breaks were highly interactive and informative with ample opportunity to learn about innovative research via the poster sessions, and to expand networks by meeting colleagues from the analytical chemistry community.

At the end of the first day, while the COAST Participant Council Meeting was held in another part of the venue, young researchers had to collaborate in five teams in the Young Scientists Consortium Building workshop. During this workshop, each team of young researchers worked hard to come up with a public-private research proposal. In the dinner break that followed, they had to “sell” their ideas to industry to gather financial support (consisting of COAST monopoly-money in the pockets of the private COAST participants). The group with the best proposal and private commitment (jury decision) won the workshop. The winning team was iCare (see separate news item). The prize, a feasibility-study grant of max € 5,600.-, can be used to explore the potential of the research proposal.

We thank all the lectures for the successful event and hope this will lead to even more collaborations and an even more interactive community. We also hope that the enthusiasm experienced promises an even greater number of participants in FAST 2018.

iCARe project proposal team wins ‘Young Scientist Consortium building Challenge’ prize at Forum for Analytical Science and Technology (FAST)

iCARe team
The iCARe team was awarded the ‘Young Scientist Consortium Building’ prize during the Forum for Analytical Science and Technology (FAST) held in Veldhoven on May 16-17, 2017. The participants of the challenge for MSc+ talent program students, PhD students and postdocs were asked to form groups and create original public-private research plans during a 2-hour brainstorm session. In total five teams participated in the challenge. Fleur van Beek of the TA-COAST project MAnIAC (UvA) was chosen to be the Primary Investigator of her group, consisting of Paula Borgonje (MSc+, University of Groningen), André van den Doel (OFF/ON, Radboud University), Alina Astefanei (University of Amsterdam), Milou Santbergen (GUTTEST, Wageningen University), Gerjen Tinnevelt (IMPACT, Radboud University), and Nienke van Dongen (MSc+, Wageningen University). Together they managed to convince both the industrial partners and the jury to invest in their individualized Cellular Activity Reactor project (iCARe). A prize of 5600 euros was awarded to the team so that they can employ a student to carry out a feasibility study.

Milou Santbergen en Hubertus Irth
Fleur van Beek

Lutgarde Buydens decorated as Knight in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands

Prof. Lutgarde Buydens was decorated as “Ridder in de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw” (Knight in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands) on 26 April 2017. Lutgarde received the decoration from the Mayor of Nijmegen, where she is Dean of the Faculty of Science of Radboud University. The decoration is used to recognize merits in the arts, science, sport and literature.

Lutgarde is an international expert in the field of chemometrics. She has been an innovator in the field for more than 25 years, improving, for example, methodologies for non-invasive detection of brain tumors. As principal investigator, she has been participating in over 35 national and international research projects. Lutgarde has been a founding board member of COAST, and is currently treasurer.

Lutgarde Ridder NL Leeuw 20170429

Hubertus Irth to succeed Michel Nielen as Scientific director COAST

Michel NielenHubertus Irth

After six years of dedication to the success of COAST, Prof Michel Nielen will resign as scientific director to focus on his two other jobs at RIKILT (principal scientist) and Wageningen University (professor of analytical chemistry) and lead a European ITN consortium.

On 1 January 2017, Michel will be succeeded by Prof Hubertus Irth who, after his (vice-)deanships at VU University (dean of Faculty of Sciences 2010-2013, vice- and interim dean of Faculties of Sciences and Earth and Life Sciences 2014-2016), will return to his original field of analytical sciences He will combine the job of scientific director of COAST with his positions of scientific director of Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR) and professor of Biomolecular Analysis at Leiden University.

COAST expresses their great appreciation for Michel’s dedication to COAST. His vision and knowledge have been invaluable attributes to the COAST Research Agenda. We are very pleased that Michel will continue to be involved in the leadership of COAST, as he will be joining the COAST board as of 1 January 2017. Thus, he will be able to use his experience in advising and supervising the COAST board of directors and guarantee a smooth transfer of the Research Agenda to the capable hands of Hubertus Irth.

COAST is very proud to have been able to appoint Hubertus as Scientific Director. His experience and insights will be of great value to the upcoming transition and growth of COAST to the next level .

Fleur van Beek wins COAST poster prize at CHAINS 2016

During a festive ceremony at CHAINS 2016 Fleur van Beek, a PhD student within the COAST R&D-project MAnIAC at the University of Amsterdam and a COAST MSc+ alumna was awarded the COAST poster prize for Best Analytical Poster.

During the poster sessions, the posters were judged on attractiveness, clarity and quality of the research and results, as well as on oral presentation. Fleur van Beek presented her poster to jury member Arjan Mank (Philips Innovation Services) who especially appreciated the interactive element in the poster. The poster was innovative and original, and the interactive element encouraged a dialogue about the research and a discussion on the possibilities. Fleur was also praised for her enthusiasm and clarity when explaining the MAnIAC concept to her audience.

Fleur hopes that students and researchers alike are inspired by her poster and by the prize, which celebrates creativity. She noted that: “Although posters are very personal creations I really hope that people will dare to be more creative and veer away from the standard poster templates in order to make conferences and poster sessions more fun and interactive.”. She relishes the thought that, rather than creating the feeling that people are forced to talk scientifically, poster sessions may prompt collaborative thinking by creating an atmosphere in which people are inspired by each other.

The COAST project MAnIAC ("Making Analytically Incompatible Approaches Compatible") aims to provide a platform for the coupling of analytical approaches, where users can interchange various modules to suit the analysis of their specific samples. In the poster, you can configure your own analytical concept, using the MAnIAC platform, by moving around the magnetic modules Fleur created for her poster.

DSM, Heineken, Micronit and Shell are the private partners in the MANIAC project. Besides the University of Amsterdam, also the Free University in Amsterdam, the Radboud University Nijmegen, and the University of Groningen participate in the project.

We congratulate Fleur with this prize and hope that, since she just started her PhD in April this year, this marks the beginning of a successful career!


TI-COAST now a designated Community of Innovation (COI) in the Topsector Chemistry

Topsector ChemieThe board of the Topconsortium for Knowledge and Innovation of the Topsector Chemistry (TKI-Chemie) officially recognized TI-COAST as the national Community of Innovation (COI) for Analytical Science and Technology in the Topsector Chemistry. COAST is the second community to receive this label from the topsector; the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT) received this label previously.

The TKI-Chemie recognizes and greatly appreciates the position that TI-COAST has acquired in the innovation landscape of the Topsector, and the trust we built with our private and public partners. The label of Community of Innovation identifies COAST as the preferred national partner to 
accommodate public-private initiatives in analytical science and technology. 

In the Spotlight: PhD-students from TA-COAST projects graduate, but continue to work for COAST partners

Sweccha Joshi graduates in February 2017 from Wageningen University, after performing her PhD research within the SPRing project (Enhanced bioresolution and miniaturization of surface plasmon resonance optical sensing). Sweccha started her PhD 3 July 2012 and was supervised by Teris van Beek, Han Zuilhof, and Michel Nielen.

She worked at the Organic-Chemistry Department, Wageningen University. In the project she focused on surface chemistry and surface characterization of nano-patterned imaging surface-plasmon-resonance (iSPR) chips. The goal was to address key issues regarding fouling and improper orientations of immobilized biomolecules. The multiplex detection of biotoxins in the food chain is very suitable as a model system and a highly relevant application for valorization.

Sweccha already published the following articles:
  • 'Surface characterization and antifouling properties of nanostructured gold chips for imaging surface plasmon resonance biosensing', Sweccha Joshi, Paola Pellacani, Teris A. van Beek, Han Zuilhof and Michel W.F. Nielen, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 209 (2015) 505-514; doi:10.1016/j.snb.2014.11.133.
  • 'Multiplex surface plasmon resonance biosensing and its transferability towards imaging nanoplasmonics for detection of mycotoxins in barley', Sweccha Joshi, Anna Segarra-Fas, Jeroen Peters, Han Zuilhof, Teris A. van Beek and Michel W.F. Nielen, Analyst, 141 (2016) 1307 – 1318; doi:10.1039/c5an02512e
We congratulate Sweccha with her new job at AkzoNobel Sassenheim, where she will work as Researcher I in the field of water based exterior woodcare.


Jan Gerretzen is graduating from Radboud University, working on the ALBERT project (Analysis of large data sets by enhanced robust techniques). Jan started his PhD studies on 1 October 2012 and has been supervised by Jeroen Jansen and Lutgarde Buydens).

Jan worked at the Analytical Chemistry department of Radboud University. The project aims at developing new or improved and robust data-analysis methods, focusing on three aspects: data quality, data pre-processing and data analysis. Jan focused mainly on the latter two. In the project he worked on data sets from DSM, AkzoNobel and Heineken.

Jan was already the (co-) author of four papers.
  • 'Breaking with trends in pre-processing?', J. Engel, J. Gerretzen, E. Szymańska, J.J Jansen, G. Downey and L. Blanchet and L.M.C. Buydens, Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 50 (2013) 96–106 doi:10.1016/j.trac.2013.04.015.
  • 'A novel approach for analyzing gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/ olfactometry data', Jan Gerretzen, Lutgarde M.C. Buydnens, Ariette O. Tromp - van den Beukel, Elisabeth Koussissi, Eric R. Brouwer, Jeroen J. Jansen, Ewa Szymańska, Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems, 146 (2015) 290-296 doi:10.1016/j.chemolab.2015.05.027
  • 'Simple and Effective Way for Data Preprocessing Selection Based on Design of Experiments', Jan Gerretzen, Ewa Szymańska, Jeroen J. Jansen, Jacob Bart, Henk-Jan van Manen, Edwin R. van den Heuvel and Lutgarde M.C. Buydens, Analytical Chemistry, 87 (2015) 12096-12103 doi:10.1021/acs.analchem.5b02832
  • 'Chemometrics and qualitative analysis have a vibrant relationship', Ewa Szymańska, Jan Gerretzen, Jasper Engel, Brigitte Geurts, Lionel Blanchet, Lutgarde M.C. Buydens, Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 69 (2015) 34-51 doi:10.1016/j.trac.2015.02.015
We congratulate Jan with his new job at AkzoNobel Deventer, where he will be working as a chemometrics research with a focus on MSPC (Multivariate Statistical Process Control) and NIR calibration modelling.

TA-COAST1 project Breath Volatiles (Real-time in vivo measurement of semi-volatiles in air/breath) – Research highlight Ewa Szymanska

With the TA-COAST1 projects (started in 2012, ending in 2016/2017) coming to an end, we would like to share some highlights of the projects with you. In the spotlight today: Breath Volatiles.

  • Responsible researchers: Max Batenburg (Unilever), Frans J.M. Harren (Radboud University), Elwin Verheij (TNO), Lutgarde M.C. Buydens (Radboud University)
  • Postdocs: Ewa Szymanska, Phil A. Brown
  • Project partners: Radboud University, TNO, Unilever, Ionicon
  • Dissemination of results: 12 posters, 10 oral presentations, 3 publications and 1 in preparation
The aim of the Breath Volatiles project was “To develop and improve Proton-Transfer-Reaction Ion-Trap Mass Spectrometry (PTR-IT-MS) for sensitive, rapid screening of gaseous samples, in order to detect specific markers in food to study in-vivo aroma/flavour release in food and for nutritional challenge tests.”

The project had three major objectives:
  • Improvement of sensitivity of PTR-IT-MS
  • Chemometric analysis of PTR-IT-MS data
  • Application studies
Development and improvement PIT-MS was deemed necessary to combine the benefits of PTR (soft ionization) and IT-MS (ability to increase selectivity with MSn). Comprehensive chemometric strategies are required to effectively handle and extract relevant information from large and complex datasets collected with PTR-IT-MS in different application studies. Starting this project, no chemometric strategy was available.

Improving the PTR-IT-MS methodology was mainly successful in two areas:
  • Ion Funnel. The field strength was reduced to enhance transmission and thereby sensitivity.
  • Software. Chemometrics techniques were exploited to investigate breath and urine samples using PTR-IT-MS. 
Some successes need further research:
  • Improving the detector. Successful modifications were made, but unfortunately these were too costly to be utilized in practice.
  • Improving the ion source. This resulted in great improvements in sensitivity, but not in a reduction of the noise. Further research is needed to lower the limits on detection.
Accomplishment in chemometrics:
Ewa Szymanska successfully developed a Chemometric strategy for Analyzing PTR-IT-MS Data

There, she made a comparison between different real-time in vivo aroma-release measurement protocols. She developed an automated chemometric strategy to enhance data pre-processing, analysis and interpretation. She developed very powerful Matlab scripts to process data from time-resolved PTR-MS breath analysis which also takes into account the test panel performance. Ewa standardized the breath data of the Aroma Release experiments and delivered guidelines with regards to the optimal degree of panellist control. Comprehensive information is extracted, which saves weeks of time compared to the existing data handling procedure.

Her accomplishment was published in Analytical Chemistry: Ewa Szymanska, et al., Comprehensive data scientific procedure for enhanced analysis and interpretation of real-time breath measurements in in-vivo aroma release studies. Analytical Chemistry 87 (2015) 10338 – 10345. Or, in short: Testing the Testpanel.

The software developed by Ewa is used by project partners and available on demand.

Other publications of the results of the project (thus far) are:
  • Devasena Samudrala, et al., Changes in urine headspace composition as an effect of strenuous walking analyzed with Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry and multivariate statistical analysis. Metabolomics 11 (2015) 1656-1666
  • Brigitte Geurts, Ewa Szymanska, Boosting breath analysis with chemometric solutions. IMM Annual Report (2015) 53

Research Highlight: TA-COAST 1 Localized Spectroscopy of Polymers by Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy

With the TA-COAST1 projects (2011 – 2016) coming to an end, we would like to share some highlights of the projects with you. This item in the spotlight: Localized Spectroscopy of Polymers by Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy.

In this project researchers of the Institute of Molecules and Materials (Radboud University) work together with Teijin Aramid, DSM, Philips Health Care, Spinnovation and Noiviotech to develop better methods to characterize polymers and materials. The main objective of this project is to develop exploit solid-state NMR methods for polymer studies. As part of the project the consortium set out to improve the resolution of proton NMR in small sample volumes.

In solid-state NMR materials are usually analysed in powder form and a relatively large amount of the material is generally required. Researchers rarely use this technique when they only have a little amount of the material or when they want to study the material in its original form. In the project the researchers developed a new micro-coil based technique, applied the microNMR probe, that provides higher resolutions and allows very rapid analysis in overnight experiments. With resolutions twice as high as in state-of-the-art studies PhD-student Ole Brauckmann set a world record for proton resolution in solid-state NMRs.

The newly developed microNMR probe is a three canals probe that allows the study several nuclei at the same time. This provides information about the chemical and facilitates identification of the hydrogen bonds in the analyte. The technique provides a rapid and secure detection of 3D molecular structures of (bio)polymers and polymorphs in pharmaceutical applications.

This accomplishment is published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics: J. Ole Brauckmann, J. W. G. (Hans) Janssen and Arno P.M. Kentgens. High resolution triple resonance micro magic angle spinning NMR-spectroscopy of nanoliter sample volumes. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys 18 (2016) 4902-4910. Doi: 10.1039/C5CP07857A

See also: NWO highlight.

New cohort ASTP-1 students looking for their first company experience!

We have successfully selected our 6th cohort of ASTP students. This group of 25 promising talents will start their ASTP program with the Summer Course of 22-26 August. From September 2016 they will seek a 400-hour “employeeship” to get a first impression of analytical science in industry. This 400-hour internship can be filled in together with the student. Approximately one day a week and during holidays the student can help you and your colleagues with a variety of tasks. Experience has shown that they can conduct some literature research, data analysis, sample preparation, and other (hands-on) tasks in or around the laboratory. Possibly, the ASTP-1 student will be supervised by an ASTP-2, ASTP-3 or MSc+ student.

Please contact Iris de Lange ( when your company can host one or more ASTP1 students.

Most ASTP-2, ASTP-3 and MSc+ students have already found an internship, helped by the COAST internship webpage and our successful Education Day of April 2016. However, some students are still looking. If you have an interesting project for an excellent student, please take action now.

To learn more about our students, you can consult the famous SpiderWeb Posters booklet, please send an email to Iris de Lange to receive a copy. Information on the students’ interests and capabilities can be found in their posters.

For up-to-date information of student availability, please contact Iris de Lange.

To meet our students, use the following links
MSc+ (2015),
please note that from October new talent students will be admitted to the MSc+ program. They will be looking for internships during 2017.

pdf Fact sheet traineeships
pdf Information sheet MSc+ internships

Susanne van Breugel (COAST-ASTP-3 student, Topsector Chemistry), Anke Wetser (Topsector Water student) and Annette Zwinderman (Topsector Water student) win the Clean Water Challenge 2016

The Clean Water Challenge is a cross-sectoral challenge for innovative students in Chemistry and Water, in the form of a ‘world pressure cooker’. This one-day multidisciplinary challenge took place on 3 November 2016. At the end of that day, all teams pitched their idea to an expert jury. The winning team was awarded with €1000,- and presented their idea to the audience of the Topsector Chemistry Granting & Graduation Event in the Jaarbeurs Utrecht on the evening of 3 November.

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