The Team'Team, Team, Team, Team, Team – I even love saying the word: Team.' (Mr. Denholm)
Prof. Dr. Ir. Michiel Dusselier is the research group leader.
Michiel has a MSc in Bioscience Engineering (KU Leuven, 2009) and studied in part at the Technische Universität München. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2013 under the guidance of Profs. Sels and Pierre Jacobs on the topic of tailoring catalytic routes toward lactic acid and biobased plastics, resulting in a patented new process, now sold to industry. In 2014–15, he performed postdoctoral work with Prof. Mark Davis at the California Institute of Technology, studying the synthesis of small-pore zeolites, the elusive GME zeolite and methanol conversion. He is an honorary fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation and secretary of the Dutch Zeolite Association. He has published >50 academic papers, including in Science, Angew. Chem., J. Am. Chem. Soc, Chem. Rev. and Energy Environ. Sci. and deposited 6 patents. The work has been recognized by several prizes, including the ACS Breen memorial award in 2013, the 2016 Incentive Award of the Belgian Chemical societies ft. ChemPubSoc, The Da Vinci Award of KU Leuven and the EOS Pipet of 2016.
Aron obtained his MSc in Bioscience Engineering (Catalytic technology) at the KU Leuven in 2014. As an IWT-funded fellow, he obtained his PhD in 2018 under the guidance of Prof. Sels and Prof. Dusselier at the Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis. His research focused on biomass conversion and especially the catalytic valorization of sugar streams towards drop-in chemicals (5 first-author publications, including one in Nature Energy). As a postdoctoral researcher, Aron aims to develop a new reactor platform for zeolite synthesis.
Nuria obtained her BSc and MSc in Chemistry at the University of Salamanca. She obtained her PhD in sustainable chemistry in 2017 under the guidance of Dr. Manuel Moliner at the Institute of Chemical Technology (ITQ, Valencia). During her PhD she acquired extensive experience in the synthesis of zeolites, tuning its physico-chemical properties for their use as catalysts in relevant industrial processes such as the selective catalytic reduction of NOx or methanol to olefins. As a result of her PhD she has published 8 papers in high level peer reviewed journals, and she has 8 patents transferred to industry. Recently she has got a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship with Prof. Michiel Dusselier as supervisor. Now, with her ambitious ZEOCO2 project, she aim to design, synthesize and use different zeolites as catalysts to transform the CO2 into useful chemicals and fuels.
Ibrahim obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Caen (France) in October 2018. His research focused on the purification of the second generation biofuels by selective adsorption of phenolic compounds using Y zeolites. During his Ph.D. he acquired extensive experience in the infrared spectroscopy, the characterization of zeolites for understanding the effect of the superficial sites on their adsorption capacity, selectivity, and their regeneration ability. As a postdoctoral researcher, Ibrahim aims to study the muconic acid isomerization using zeolites.
Quanli obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering in 2018 at Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, one of the top institutes among Chinese Academy of Sciences. During his PhD career, his research mainly focused on the synthesis, modification and functionalization of microporous zeolites. In the meantime, he also applied those zeolites to adsorption and catalysis processes such as CO2 capture and DeNOx. As a postdoctoral researcher, Quanli tries to develop a new reactor platform in order to have better understanding of the different influencing factors during zeolite synthesis."
Julien obtained his BSc and MSc in Biosience Engineering at the KU Leuven in 2017 [He studied in part at the NTNU (Trondheim, Norway)]. Under the guidance of Prof. Dusselier he made a MSc thesis on zeolite synthesis: “Directing zeolite synthesis towards active catalysts for methane activation”. This work fortified his curiosity in the marvels of zeolite synthesis and its meaningful use. Upon graduation he joined the team and started a PhD focusing on efficient synthesis routes to relevant small pore zeolites (SSZ-13, SSZ-39, …) with the aim of creating efficient divalent cation catalysts with control over their active sites.
An Sofie Narmon
An Sofie obtained her MSc in Biosience Engineering (Catalytic Technology) at the KU Leuven in 2018. She performed her master’s thesis at the Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis under the guidance of Prof. Michiel Dusselier. During her thesis, she worked on the improvement of melt strength properties of polyester bioplastics via zeolite catalysis and stereospecific co-polymerisation in collaboration with KU Leuven’s department of Soft Matter Rheology and Technology. She recently started a PhD, expanding this research. In her spare time she likes running, playing music and being active as a voluntary youth animator.
Gleb obtained his MSc in Chemistry at the Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2018. The main thesis of his work was “Catalytic dehydrogenation of propane over Pt- and Sn-containing BEA zeolite”. Results of this work have a patent application. As part of his work, he participated in the development of a new catalyst for the Lebedev process (one-stage conversion of ethanol to butadiene), which resulted in successful pilot testing. In his spare time he combines the feeding of ducks and mountain skis.
Gleb will study zeolite synthesis in unusual ways in his PhD in the Dusselier lab.
Sofia obtained her MSc in Chemistry at the University of Calabria in Cosenza (Italy) in 2015, with a master thesis in Analytical Chemistry on the development of new methodologies to analyse pollutants in water. She started her PhD in Life Sciences in 2017 at the University Magna Graecia of Catanzaro (Italy) in the Green Chemistry group led by Prof. Antonio Procopio, under the supervision of Dr. Manuela Oliverio. Her research is mainly focused on the valorization of agri-food processes based on the implementation of non-conventional strategies for the hydrothermal degradation of cellulose from waste biomasses to obtain value added chemicals.
In the network of PhD-Exchange she will be in Dusselier lab at KU Leuven for six months, where she aims to learn how to work with zeolites and how to handle with lactic acid, which is one of the lead compounds of her research.
Rik obtained his MSc in Bioscience Engineering (Catalytic Technology) at KU Leuven in 2013. He then started a PhD as an IWT-funded fellow under supervision of Prof. Sels and Prof. Dusselier, which he obtained in November 2017. His research focused on developing new catalytic processes for bio-based polyester building blocks. His results have been published in Angewandte Chemie and have resulted in a patent application. Aside from science, his interests lie in playing squash, hiking and travelling.
After his PhD, Rik moved to Copenhagen and is currently working for one year at Haldor Topsoe as a Research Scientist in the Sustainable Chemicals lab.
Kevin has a MSc in Chemistry (KU Leuven, 2011). He obtained his PhD in Chemistry in 2016 being part of a multidisciplinary team working on improving gluten-based bioplastic. His skillset ranges from organic and polymer synthesis to analysis of biomacromolecules and the evaluation of material properties. In our team, he has been involved in the synthesis of PLA-based polymers for the production of tailored biodegradable packaging.
Apart from his excellent scientific expertise, he is also part of a medal-winning skydiving team, investor in cryptocurrencies (never sell xrp) and enthusiastic cat-lover.