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KILU Newsletter, week 51, 2018-12-19

KILU Newsletter is the Department of Chemistry's internal newsletter.

Talking heads

At this special time of year, we want to take a moment and say “thank-you” for your trust and support. It has now passed a year since we started our duties. It has been a very rewarding year connected with a steep learning curve for us especially when it comes to administrative matters. This year has also been associated with many highlights such as the gold medal at the IGEM competition in Boston for our students. We are also very grateful for Ulf Ryde and the Kemicentrum Choir for your magic performances at the KILU Day and Lucia.

When it comes to 2019, we have a number of planned activities.

So What’s up?
1. Our financial situation is strong, partly too strong. We will therefore continue to reduce our capital next year. This means that we will continue making investments in new staff and renovation of our buildings and equipment. The new student premises and library will open up in January. The distribution of faculty funding is of course essential here. We have had basically the same model for many years, but a group (Emma Sparr, Marie Gorwa-Grauslund, Susanna Horsefield, Charlotta Turner and Håkan Hansson) is now critically examining this. The group will present their first report by the end of January. We intend to have a new model for distributing our faculty funding ready in September to be used for 2020.

2. Next year will be dedicated to female scientists. We will celebrate this by inviting top female chemists to KILU to give lectures on different aspects of our discipline. Each division/unit can propose suitable candidates from all over the world to this seminar series. Please contact us with names of suitable candidates that you would like to see here at our department. The plan is that we will have a lecture each month in room KC:A.

3. The establishment at Brunnshög or Science Village Scandinavia (SVS) for parts of LU is an ongoing topic. The most recent plan has just been presented as “LU@SVS” that will be distributed to the divisions. Parts of “Material Chemistry” are expected to move to Brunnshög. The definition of material chemistry is not trivial and today it involves several new directions. This LU@SVS proposal is still in a vague format, but we follow the development carefully and its consequences for KILU.

4. Our NMR center will move to a new location, level -1 under lecture room S and T. This is due to the opening, finally, of our tram connection just outside the Chemical Center. The space where we have had the old NMR center will most likely be renovated and converted to a new café area.

5. We are recruiting new staff to our administration. Mia Hedin is already in place as a PA officer together with Thomas Björkman. Her main responsibility will be the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Food Technology, but she will act as a backup for Thomas. Saywan Jamal has also started as a lab engineer after Anita Wester. We welcome you both warmly. An IT expert and a research coordinator are currently two positions that have been opened. Interviews will be held in the coming weeks.

6. We would like to involve our TA staff more deeply in the planning of the future of our department. Similarly, we have had several discussions with our emeriti on their roles and duties at our department. To strengthen the positions of these two groups, we will start up the TA Academy and the KILU Senior Academy. Invitations will be sent out in February.

If you have ideas on how you would like to improve the conditions here at the department please do not hesitate to contact us. We hope we can continue working with you closely next year.

Finally, we would like to wish you a very relaxing Christmas and New Year holiday and successful 2019.

/Leif and Ola

News

Brilliant iron molecule could provide cheaper solar energy

For the first time, researchers have succeeded in creating an iron molecule that can function both as a photocatalyst to produce fuel and in solar cells to produce electricity. The results indicate that the iron molecule could replace the more expensive and rarer metals used today.

“Our results now show that by using advanced molecule design, it is possible to replace the rare metals with iron, which is common in the Earth’s crust and therefore cheap”, says Kenneth Wärnmark, The Centre for Analysis and Synthesis.

“The good result depends on the fact that we have optimised the molecular structure around the iron atom”, explains colleague Petter Persson, The Division of Theoretical Chemistry.


Together with colleagues, Kenneth Wärnmark has for a long time worked to find alternatives to the expensive metals. Besides the researchers from Lund University, colleagues from Uppsala University and the University of Copenhagen were also involved in the collaboration.
Read more

New publication in Nature

Researchers from the Department of Chemistry, Per Uvdal and Irene Rodríguez-Meizoso, are co-authors to a new article in Nature entitled: "Soft-tissue evidence for homeothermy and crypsis in a Jurassic ichthyosaur". The research results have been presented for example on SVT.se, in Radio Sweden and internationally on BBC.com.

Plastic waste can break down into nanoparticles

A new study from Lund University shows that there is a high risk that plastic waste released into the environment can break down into nanoparticles, so-called nanoplastics.

Large amounts of plastics are released into the environment every day. These released plastics have a clearly documented negative effect on wildlife. Much research attention has been given to large plastic pieces and microplastics. However, if the breakdown of plastics is a continuous process, eventually nanoplastics will be produced. Nanoplastics will affect wildlife differently than larger plastic pieces.

“We have been able to show that mechanical impact on plastics generates decomposition all the way down to nanoplastics", says Tommy Cedervall, from the Division of Biochemistry and Structural Biology.

The study was recently published in the journal Nanoscale Advances.

Read more (in Swedish).

Clinical validation of customized antimicrobial susceptibility testing

A microcalorimeter called “calScreener” that is produced by the company Symcel, was based on the design of an isothermal multi-channel microcalorimeter developed by Professor emeritus Ingemar Wadsö at the Division of Physical Chemistry. The instrument allowed simultaneous measurement of 47 samples at a level of 0.2 µW.

Symcel has received a total of EUR 3.6 million from Horizon 2020, an EU-financed research and innovation program, for the clinical validation of the use of calSceener in antimicrobial susceptibility testing of multi-resistant bacterial infections. Work is now in progress with an international consortium, including The Division of Clinical Microbiology at Karolinska Institutet. 

Researchers in media

Sara Snogerup Linse, Division of Biochemistry and Structural Biology, held a speech in connection with the presentation of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Watch the Nobel Prize award ceremony at SVT Play (43:37 into the broadcast, in Swedish).

Kenneth Wärnmark, from CAS, was interviewed in many media channels about succeeding in creating an iron molecule that can function both as a photocatalyst to produce fuel and in solar cells to produce electricity. Read about it here (in Swedish): Kemivärlden Biotech, Elektroniktidningen, Energinyheter, Process Nordic and Metal Supply.

Charlotta Turner was interviewed in the latest issue of LUM about how she helped one of her doctoral students in chemistry to flee from the IS terror group in Iraq during the summer of 2014. Read the article (in Swedish).

Charlotta Turner was interviewed in many media channels about how she helped one of her doctoral students in chemistry to flee from the IS terror group in Iraq during the summer of 2014. For example in Swedish media; Sydsvenskan, HD, Svenska Dagbladet, Sydöstran, Lokaltidningen, Kvällsposten, Skånska Dagbladet and in internationell media: NBC News.

Financial information

Financial report- Budget 2019

The budget for 2019 for the Department of Chemistry is now submitted to the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Engineering and was accepted by our department board last week. The budgeted financial result for the Department of Chemistry as a whole, including the board of joint services at Kemicentrum (husstyrelsen), is -7,4 MSEK, compared to the financial result forecasted for the year 2018 of -5,8 MSEK.

Education is budgeted at a financial result of 1,2 MSEK which is an improvement compared to the financial result forecasted for the year 2018 -0,3 MSEK.

Research is budgeted at a deficit of -8,6 MSEK, i.e. 3,1 MSEK higher deficit compared to the latest forecast for 2018 (T2 2018), this increasing deficit is mainly because the strategic venture with recruiting PhD students and postdocs towards younger researchers. For Research the government grants are increasing by 2,6 MSEK, whereas the external income, consisting of both grants and external research assignments, is 0,4 MSEK higher, when accruals for grants paid retroactively and in advance are considered.

It should be noted that the budget 2019 only includes external financing that has already been approved, whereas historically researchers also receive new grant approvals during the year, as they submit their applications continuously. This means that there is potential for the Department of Chemistry to deliver financial results that are not fully as negative as the budget for the coming year.

If you have any questions contact Håkan Hansson, Head of Finance at the Department of Chemistry.

Messages

Opening hours during the Christmas holiday

THE INFORMATION DESK
Monday 24/12 – Wednesday 26/12: CLOSED
Thursday 27/12 - Friday 28/12: 10.00-12.00
Monday 31/12 – Tuesday 1/1: CLOSED
Wednesday 2/1 – Friday 4/1: 10.00-12.00

Regular opening hours from the 7th of January.

THE LIBRARY
Friday 22/12: 09.00-12.00
Monday 24/12 – Friday 4/1: CLOSED
Regular opening hours from the 7th of January.

THE ENTRANCES
Work days between 24/12-6/1 the entrances are open for those with an entrance card. Weekends and holidays during this period only entrance A, B and E are open for those with an entrance card.

The holidays are approaching and there will be fewer people at work so check if any doors are left unlocked unnecessarily. When you go on vacation do not leave things visible at your workplace that can attract attention from thieves. If possible, keep your computer locked in.

Message from the Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) coordinator

Observe that the use of candle- and/or tea lights are forbidden within Kemicentrum.
See website: http://www.kc.lu.se/general-safety-regulations/introduction/
The use of LED tea lights and candles are permitted within Kemicentrum (dining venues, offices etc.)

Calendar

Disputation

Defence of thesis in Physical Chemistry

Tid: 2019-09-04 13:15 till: 16:15