Sebastiaan Eeltink

“Design and development of self-structuring nanomaterials for liquid chromatography”

Sebastiaan Eeltink is a young researcher and has obtained an excellent education in analytical chemistry at the University of Amsterdam. He has a great experience in the field of chromatography and electro-chromatography. The proposed project dealing with the design and development of nanomaterials to be used in liquid chromatography is original and very important for those working in the field of analytical chemistry.

The complexity of questions to be answered using chemical analysis is exponentially increasing. Yesterday’s separation systems are unable to solve today’s problems, and a completely new approach is needed to find the answer for tomorrow’s challenges. The present proposal aims at the design and development of revolutionary, self-structuring nanomaterials for liquid chromatography targeting the complex challenges posed by biomarker discovery and clinical diagnostics. The novel polymer nanomaterials will provide revolutionary and unmatched possibilities for high-resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) separations.

The morphology and surface chemistry of the nanomaterials will be tailored towards the requirements of tomorrow’s separation techniques: ultra-high-pressure LC, high-temperature LC, and two-dimensional chromatography. In addition, a new device will be developed for the separation of the future, spatial chromatography. In spatial chromatography components are separated in the space domain with each peak being characterized by its coordinates in a plane or a three-dimensional separation space offering to separate thousands of components without extending today’s time scale.

The nanomaterials of the future will be developed in capillary and microfluidic formats and applied to advanced life-science applications, including:

  • Fingerprinting of complex protein and peptide samples using optimized one- and multi-dimensional LC-MS.
  • Advanced on-chip bioanalytical separations, including on-chip spatial chromatography.
  • Development of quantitative structure-retention relationships for one-dimensional LC separations to improve identification of peptides in LC with MS/MS data analysis.

The promise of this project is to help tackle the truly complex separation problems and to revolutionize biomarker discovery and contribute to our understanding of disease pathways. Tomorrow’s faster medical diagnostics and novel therapy regimes require new tools like the proposed analytical techniques.

The planned research activities would fit seamlessly in the activities of the Chemical Engineering department of the VUB. With its emphasis on applications in life sciences and biotechnology, the present proposal would strengthen the position of the department in these timely research fields and would strengthen and extend intra- and inter-university collaborations.