Master of Ceremony: Dr. Luca Consoli
I am Associate Professor of Science and Society at the Institute for Science in Society, Faculty of Science, Radboud University. After my PhD in theoretical physics, I turned my attention to the ethical and societal implications of science and technology. My current research and teaching activities focus on the embedding of scientific practices in ‘the broader context’. This means both inside and outside the scientific community. As far as the first is concerned, I am interested in questions of scientific ethics (what do scientists themselves consider ‘good science’ and why?), using as a virtue-ethical approach. As far as the second one is concerned, relevant issues for me are the role of normativity in expertise and the concept of RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation).
Prof. Dr. Willem Mulder (TU/e & RUMC)
Extremely smal: “Regulating innate immunity with nanotherapeutics”
Immunotherapy is revolutionizing the treatment of diseases. Most immunotherapy strategies engage the adaptive immune system. In recent years, emerging evidence has shown that the innate immune reprogramming induces long-term changes through metabolic and epigenetic programming of myeloid cells, including monocytes, neutrophils and macrophages. Therefore, targeting myeloid cells and their progenitors is a powerful ‘innate immunity-regulating framework’ to govern the delicate balance of immune homeostasis, priming/training and tolerance. This Presentation will showcase how nanomedicine-based immunotherapies can be applied to achieve long-term therapeutic benefits in detrimental immune-driven diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular and infectious diseases (COVID-19), as well as to prevent organ rejection after transplantation.
As a chemistry student, I started working in the field of nanomedicine in 1999. Since then, I have been captivated by the application of nanotechnology in medicine, particularly in immunology. After a 15-year tenure at Mount Sinai, I returned to the Netherlands in the beginning of 2021 to established a unique multidisciplinary ecosystem at Radboudumc and TU/e. It allows young scientists from diverse backgrounds to flourish and mature into the engineers, scientists, and medical doctors of tomorrow, by participating in and driving innovative science today. Through exploration of the biological, chemical and experimental knowledge, we interconnect nanotechnology and immunology with the overarching goal to develop nanomedicine strategies for detrimental immune-mediated diseases.
Prof. Dr. Ewine van Dishoeck (LU)
Extremely far away: “Molecules between the stars: chemistry under extreme conditions”
The space between the stars is not empty but filled with a very dilute gas. In spite of the extremely low temperatures and densities, these clouds contain a surprisingly rich chemistry, as evidenced by the detection of more than 240 different molecules, from simple to complex and from gas to solid-state ices. These clouds are also the birthplaces of stars and planets. New extremely powerful facilities such as the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) and the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) have found water and a surprisingly rich variety of organic materials near forming stars, including simple sugars, ethers and alcohols. How are these molecules formed under the extreme conditions? How common are they and can they be delivered to new planets?
Trained as a theoretical chemist, I am professor of molecular astrophysics at Leiden University. The work of my group unites the world of chemistry with that of physics and astronomy through observations, laboratory experiments and theory. I have been heavily involved in planning major new telescopes like ALMA and Webb, and have been fortunate to receive many awards, including the 2018 Kavli Prize for Astrophysics. I am also a member of several academies. From 2018-2021, I served as the President of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). I have a passion for outreach to the general public and a special interest in art and astronomy.
Ir. Ferry Roelofs (NRG|PALLAS)
Extremely dangerous: “Harvesting the extreme power of nuclear fission”
For many people nuclear fission is a mystery. In the first half of the presentation, the basic principles of how the extreme power of nuclear fission is being harvested will be addressed. Also, other important characteristics of nuclear power will shortly be addressed. The second half of the presentation will deal with the contribution of nuclear fission power to the climate change challenges the world is facing. The applications beyond electricity generation and the drive towards sustainability require innovative solutions for future reactors. Apart from large and small modular ‘conventional’ water cooled reactors, the developments and applications of gas-, liquid metal cooled, and molten salt reactors will be presented together with the status of their development.
I obtained my engineering (Ir.) degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University in Eindhoven in 1996 with a specialization in fluid mechanics. I have worked in Petten ever since, currently employed as Account Manager Research at NRG|PALLAS. My main interests are related to the simulation of the cooling systems of all kinds of nuclear reactors, ranging from conventional water-cooled reactors to advanced gas-cooled, molten salt, or liquid metal cooled reactors. I co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and in 2019 I had the honor to edit a book on thermal hydraulic aspects of liquid metal cooled nuclear reactors.
Dr. Helen King (UU)
Extremely beautiful: “Small changes at a mineral surface result in a big impact for crystal growth”
In this talk I will go from the nanoscale extreme to the planet by examining how the chemistry of an aqueous environment influences the formation of natural, inorganic crystals, termed minerals, and how biology can manipulate the chemistry of a system to create fascinating architectures that lock in signatures of the history of our planet, enabling us to make predictions about our future climate. I will discuss the consequence of changing the chemical environment on the material characteristics of biomineralized materials that we can analyse using standard chemical techniques such as vibrational spectroscopy. Similarly, I will discuss some exciting new results about how the change from a biomineralized material into a geological one can reset the signatures that we use to understand climatic changes in the past that inform our expectations of the future.
My passion is to understand the natural world from the chemical perspective. I started with a background in Chemistry during my undergraduate education in the UK before transitioning into examining the chemical feedbacks that occur across crystal-aqueous interfaces and the material consequences of such interactions during my PhD and further career in Geoscience. This broad overview allows me to work on many different projects, looking at key socioeconomic issues related to sustainability goals, including pollutant clean-up from water sources through to the formation of bone crystals in cases where there is a mineralisation disease.