Ashley Heuijerjans (TU/e) and Panos Kouris (TU/e) won the Brightlands Presentation and Poster award at our 1st Annual Meeting. The € 500,- prizes were awarded by Emiel Staring, Managing Director of Chemelot InSciTe. Lets find out who Ashley and Panos are..

 Image 1. Ashley Heuijerjans Image 2. Panos Kouris

…Who is Ashley Heuijerjans?

'Originally I am from Midden-Limburg, but I moved to Eindhoven while studying Biomedical Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology. During my Bachelors, I found that my interests were mainly in the field of Orthopaedic Biomechanics, so I started the Masters Biomedical Engineering. After I finished my Master's Thesis on computational modeling of cartilage supervised by René van Donkelaar, I continued working on this topic in a PhD project within the InSciTe SyCaP project. '

... And who is Panos Kouris?

Panos Kouris was born on May 20, 1987 in Kalamata, Greece. 'I hold a Bachelor and Master degree in Chemical Engineering, from the department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Patras, Greece. In 2015, I obtained a second MSc, in Process Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology. Later on I started my PhD in Eindhoven University of Technology ( group of prof. Hensen), under the framework of InSciTe.
I am interested in environmental systems and processes, waste management and sustainable energy technologies. My personal goal is to develop and manufacture new products and processes for the benefit of mankind.'

... What are your research fields?

Panos: 'My PhD research field is mainly focused on the development of the world’s first integrated biorefinery for lignin. In this project lignin is transformed into an intermediary product called lignin crude oil via a chemical process that was developed by the Eindhoven University of Technology. In a follow up step this lignin crude oil is fractionated and further converted to valuable products like phenol, resins and octane-boosting fuel additives. My work contains process optimization, integrated process design and implementation of the findings into pilot activities in the Brightlands Chemelot Campus.'

Ashley: 'Currently I am working on Finite Element modeling of Orthopaedic Biomechanics, cartilage mechanics more specifically. My task within the SyCaP project is to support certain decisions in the development of the implant with computational models of the behaviour of articular cartilage.'

... what do you both like about Chemelot inSciTe?

Ashley: What I like most about Chemelot InSciTe is the collaboration between industry, clinics and universities. Such collaborations bring different expertise together, complementing each other. In practice it is very interesting to experience just how different people from different backgrounds can look at certain aspects of the project. I think this will be of great benefit to the outcome of the project.'

Panos: 'I like that top scientists from universities, research Institutes and experts from chemical Industries are combining forces and use their joint knowledge and expertise towards the usage of sustainable raw materials. Doing research side by side with new technologies and upscaling them on the basis of further valorisation, is the best motivation for a young chemical engineer.'

…What did you think when you heard you had won the Award?

Panos: 'Counting only one year in the project, when I heard that I won the poster award, I thought that me and my team at the Eindhoven University of Technology, are working on the right direction and moreover this prize means that higher expectations are being created. It keeps me motivated to continue working with high quality and dedication.'

Ashley: 'Honestly, I was quite surprised, and therefore my initial thought was: Oh dear, now I have to go and collect it. But then I was of course very honored and thankful.'

…What are you going to do with the prize money?

Ashley: ' In March I will attend a conference in San Diego, and I will stay a bit longer to do some traveling with family, so that seems to me a perfect cause for the prize money.'

Panos: 'The prize money will be donated, through a Dutch Charity Organization ( Zusters van Liefde, to a clinic and nutritional centre for children on the very poor island of East Timor ( Indonesia). Some Dutch sisters are working there to help people and children with health problems and provide them with medications. Several days per week during lunch, parents bring their children to give them a healthy meal. There are many children, even from the age of one, that do not have food because their parents are very poor.
The sisters dedicate themselves to fully support both young people and parents with proper nutrition and health care. By this way I know that the money will be used directly for this purpose. It is difficult for me to accept that there are children who do not have food, only because they were unlucky and were born under different conditions.'

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