Rustem Salmenov  
Chairman | Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (M)

My name is Rustem, and I am the chairman of the symposium committee. The current year topic is “Opposites Attract!”. Some people tend to associate this topic with the balance between opposites forces at the spiritual level: yin and yang. When it comes to science, examples of natural phenomena occur at the basic level of the world organization, such as attraction between positive and negative ions, magnetic and gravitational force. We try to expand your perception about this theme by covering topics in chemistry and biology. Our committee invites people who are specialists in their area of study, and we hope to hear some interesting stories from them about their perspective of opposite attraction in their research. We also hope you will find our symposium interesting and attend it again next year.

Hilde Roijackers 
Secretary | Chemistry of Life (M)

I am Hilde Roijackers and I am a second year master student Chemistry of Life. I joined the committee about three years ago and after a year of being a general member. After one year as a general member and two years as the chairman, I am now the secretary of the symposium committee! The theme of this year, “Opposites Attract!”, is a very interesting theme with a wide variety of applications. One of the first things that comes to my mind with this theme is magnetism and magnetic fields, which can have many applications in chemistry and in material design. From a biological standpoint, bacteria also come to mind and their interactions with the immune system. These subjects are fascinating to me because of the insights this research gives, and because of its potential applications. I hope that with this symposium, the students will learn more about these interesting topics and they will have a very enjoyable and thought-provoking day!

Carolijn van Straaten 
Treasurer | Drug Innovation (M)

I am Carolijn van Straaten and I am a first-year student of the master Drug Innovation. I joined this committee four years ago, after the “LED there be light!” symposium. This is my third year as the treasurer of this committee. The theme of this year’s symposium, “Opposites Attract!”, is very interesting to me, as it can be interpreted in such a broad way. From the molecular scale –with topics such as magnetism. dipoles, ions and micelles– to a more conceptual scale –such as poisons and antidotes or harnessing bacteriophages against other microbes! All in all, I hope that the wide range of lectures that we will have at our symposium this year will enthuse you as well, and I look forward to welcoming all of you again this year!

Marieke van der Maden 
Head of Promotion | Molecular Life Sciences (B)

My name is Marieke van der Maden and I am a third-year Molecular Life Sciences student. I joined the committee because I enjoy learning about all kinds of research in the molecular sciences field, for instance research that involves polar opposites! This is already my second symposium as the head of promotion, which means that I am responsible for the making of the posters, website and textual information. The theme of this year is “Opposites Attract!”, and it speaks to me, because there are many types of polar opposites in the chemical and biological field, and because it is so easy to interpret it in a very broad way, it gives us a wide variety of speakers from all different fields! I hope that the students will leave the symposium enjoyed and inspired, full of ideas for their own future research.

Julia Niehaus
General Member | Molecular Life Sciences (B)

I am Julia Niehaus, a third-year Molecular Life Sciences student. I joined the committee after last years symposium and am a general member. Creating this symposium was a great experience, especially as our theme “Opposites Attract!” gave us so many different topics and speakers to choose from. Needless to say, I am very excited to visit my first in-person symposium, listen to the speakers we have invited and look forward to learning how “opposites” play a role in different fields of research.

Michiel van Well
General Member | Chemistry (B)


My name is Michiel van Well and I am a third-year Chemistry student. After the inspiring symposium about “Hacking Nature” last year, I joined the committee as a general member. In line with the lustrum theme of this year, the theme of this symposium will be “Opposites Attract!”. When thinking of opposites it is quite easy to find examples appearing in everyday life like day and night or love and hate. They are complete opposites and yet not complete without their counterparts. After a moment of thinking, they can also be found in science. The north and south poles of a magnet or nucleophiles and electrophiles in chemical reactions, just to mention a few. Four more interesting examples will be covered during this symposium, so of course I am excited to take part in my first in-person symposium and so should you!