Four finalists in the 2017 Top Sector Chemistry Students competition

23 May 2017

On the basis of their research proposals, four student teams were selected to carry out their projects this summer as part of a paid traineeship. A winner will be chosen from these four teams in October. The winning team will be announced during CHAINS 2017.

On the basis of their research proposals, four student teams were selected to carry out their projects this summer as part of a paid traineeship. A winner will be chosen from these four teams in October. The winning team will be announced during CHAINS 2017.

NWO Science (ENW) and Top Sector Chemistry are together organizing the fourth Top Sector Chemistry Students competition. The Top Sector Chemistry hopes that this will offer students a first stepping-stone in their further careers.

This spring, teams of Masters and/or final year HBO Bachelor students were invited to submit proposals for the Top Sector Chemistry Students competition. The proposals had to be based on a creative solution to a societal or industrial challenge.

The four teams selected were:

Team CRISPR Clear
Countering a future bioweapon: detection of CRISPR-Cas9 gene drives with portable microfluidics PCR devices.
Teamleden: Carina Nieuwenweg (WUR/KMA), Martijn van Galen (WUR), Angelina Horsting (WUR)
Supervisors: Dr. Vittorio Saggiomo (WUR), Prof. Dr. John van der Oost (WUR), Dr. Erwin Berendsen (TNO)

Recent advances in genome editing have made gene drives possible: a technique that allows for the exponential spread of a genetic modification throughout a population. To quickly detect such gene drives used as a bioweapon, in the field, we propose a portable microfluidics device based on sequence amplification.

Team Size Matters
Biosynthesis of acidic pH resistant CdS/ZnS core/shell quantum dots using A. thiooxidans: A novel design
Teamleden: Ronald van der Meulen (Van Hall Larenstein, NHL), Vladimir Aleksić (Van Hall Larenstein, NHL)
Supervisors: Wendy M.A.A Zuidema-Haans Msc Bsc (Van Hall Larenstein, NHL), Prof. dr. Andries Meijerink (UU)

Quantum dots are nanoparticles with unique size-dependent optical properties. Instead of chemical synthesis methods, micro-organisms can be utilized to biosynthesize quantum dots in a more environmental-friendly and cost-efficient way. We propose a novel design to biosynthesize CdS/ZnS core/shell quantum dots using the bacterium A. Thiooxidans.

Team Slow-Motion
Slowing down DNA in nanopores with ruthenium anchored hydrogels
Teamleden: Roderick Versloot (UL), Sorraya Popal (UL)
Supervisors: Dr. Edgar M. Blokhuis (UL), Dr. Sylvestre A. Bonnet (UL)

New DNA sequencing devices can play an important role in the development of personalized medicine. In our proposal we try to overcome a challenge in the development of DNA sequencing ¡n nanopores: in order to read out the sequence, the DNA must slow down. We use ruthenium-complexes anchored to a hydrogel to slow down the DNA as it passes the nanopore.

Team The Bright Mutants
An Interdisciplinary Screening Of Proteorhodopsin Mutants For Near Infrared Proton Pumping Systems
Teamleden: Tom Keijer (UvA), Laura Opdam (UL)
Supervisors:  Dr. Francesco Buda (UL), Prof. dr. Wim J. de Grip (UL)

We propose to develop a proton pump which can be activated by near infra-red light with applications in solar-fuel energy production and neuroscience. To achieve this, we plan to predict and test specific protein mutations by using a combined theoretical and experimental approach.

Source: NWO