The amount of data produced by scientists increases by one third every year, according to the European Commission. How can they find their way around this mountain of data? This is the key question intriguing the new distinguished university professor of Data Science, Michel Dumontier. The 41-year-old Canadian researcher is relocating to Maastricht from the prestigious Stanford University, where he focused on discovering new drugs and precision medicine.
From the very first contact, the feeling was mutual: this is the kind of person I want to work with. After a six-month internship in Professor Ron Heeren’s group at the AMOLF institute, Karolina Skraskova knew she couldn’t return to the Czech Republic, where she had originally started her PhD. When Heeren offered her a new position, she gladly accepted. In her final year the entire research group moved from Amsterdam to Maastricht, and this is where, on 3 March 2016, she defended her PhD thesis.
Jos Kleinjans is, much to his own frustration, regarded as someone who lands grants by the dozen. The professor of Environmental Health Science is working to develop better, animal-free methods to test the toxicity of chemical substances such as medicines and cosmetics. He’s pessimistic about the prospects for rapid legal approval of his animal-friendly, toxicogenomic alternatives: “I won’t be around to see it happen.”
The industrial dogma “cheaper is better” is about to prove short-sighted, according to Maastricht University (UM) professor of New Biobased Building Blocks Stefaan de Wildeman. In addition to developing new plastics from renewable sources in his laboratory on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus, he is working to change the way we think about plastics. “The heyday of capitalism must make way for a natural evolution towards renewable plastics that are not necessarily cheaper.”
Working towards more sustainable materials is not about developing materials made from renewable sources. Instead, it’s about lowering the carbon footprint of the materials we use today, without compromising their physical properties and functionality. Professor of Polymer Science Sanjay Rastogi wants to achieve this goal by working with industry to combine molecular insight and product development. He has dedicated his career to seeking new knowledge about polymers – at present from his three different bases, at Loughborough University (UK), Teijin Aramid (Arnhem) and Maastricht University (UM).