New paper on the role of definitions of life in synthetic biology

The definition of life is a notoriously difficult definition to get right. In response to that difficulty, some philosophers and scientists have argued that definitions of life are useless to the sciences. In this publication, one of our PhD students, Ludo Schoenmakers, argues against this pessimistic conclusion. He argues that if definitions of life are understood pragmatically, they can be, and in fact are, conducive to scientific progress and they are even relevant to our ethical discussions. So no reason for pessimism!

You can find the paper here. 

Congratulations to Ludo!

LNC Season 3. Computer-Assisted Chemical Discovery with Connor Coley

The Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck is back again with its exciting new Season 3. Just like last season, we are bringing it to you LIVE from Radboud University Nijmegen with a studio audience hosted by Prof. Wilhelm Huck. Of course, we will still follow our tradition of live streaming so that you can enjoy these fascinating lectures from your home, in the lab or on the bus! In this new season, we will dive deep with the exciting topic of Chemistry and AI. From complex learning to using AI for drug discovery, we have a range of topics covered with our speaker lineup!

The third episode of Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck is on Tuesday 11th April, 20h00 CET!

This episode will be streamed live on our YouTube channel Late Night Conference with WH (don’t forget to subscribe & watch our previous exciting episodes!) from Giga-Bite at Huygensgebouw in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, where we are excited to have you in our audience!!

Get your FREE ticket here to be in the audience in the Netherlands

Please note – no ticket is needed if you only want to watch the stream on YouTube! 

Get ready, another episode is underway, brought to you live from the US! For S03E03, we will be joined by Connor W. Coley, Assistant Professor at MIT, to discuss how he manages to combine machine learning, automation, and data science with chemistry!

Can you imagine a future where chemical research is conducted by AI? Have you ever been ambushed in your dreams by robots demanding to know how humans will accelerate the discovery of novel molecules? Connor will tell us how science can make all this happen! Join us on the 11th of April, to discuss all things science. Join us, and the next time you have an unwelcome visitor in your dreams, you’ll carry all the knowledge you may need!

To prepare, you can binge watch Season 1 and 2 on our YouTube channel. You may also enjoy this highlight reel from our last seasons. You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram, as well as subscribe to our mailing list for the latest updates!

See you soon!

New publication on Prebiotic reaction networks in a dynamic environment

Before Life arose, the Earth, just as it is now, hosted an ever-changing environment. Our latest work published in JACS investigates what effect such dynamic conditions impose on the formose reaction, a model prebiotic reaction network. By applying random fluctuations to the formose reaction in a flow reactor, we show in detail how its composition responds to varying timescales and magnitudes in these perturbances. Our investigation further led us to discover that the reaction behaves in a modular manner, a remarkable characteristic which it shares with biological reaction networks. These observations demonstrate the importance of understanding the role of environmental dynamics in sculpting the composition, structure and behaviour of the chemical processes destined to form the first Life.

You can find the paper here.

Congratulations to Peer, Lena, Will and Wilhelm!

Oliver’s goodbye party

This week Oliver’s goodbye party was organised in our department. Oliver Maguire was part of the Prebiotic origin of reaction networks subgroup. Oliver’s former students Iris, Josien and Mathieu organised a quiz about Oliver and here are some interesting facts: during his 6-year stay in the Huck group as a postdoc, Oliver supervised 11 students and measured around 10 000 NMR samples!! It’s going to be quite difficult to beat these numbers!

Thank you Oliver for all the great discussions, work and jokes! We wish you all the best for your future career. You for sure will be missed!

LNC Season 3. Artificial organic chemistry with Robert Pollice

The Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck is back again with its exciting new Season 3. Just like last season, we are bringing it to you LIVE from Radboud University Nijmegen with a studio audience hosted by Prof. Wilhelm Huck. Of course, we will still follow our tradition of live streaming so that you can enjoy these fascinating lectures from your home, in the lab or on the bus! In this new season, we will dive deep with the exciting topic of Chemistry and AI. From complex learning to using AI for drug discovery, we have a range of topics covered with our speaker lineup!

The second episode of Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck is on Tuesday 14th March, 20h00 CET!

This episode will be streamed live on our YouTube channel Late Night Conference with WH (don’t forget to subscribe & watch our previous exciting episodes!) from Giga-Bite at Huygensgebouw in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, where we are excited to have you in our audience!!

Get your FREE ticket here to be in the audience in the Netherlands

Please note – no ticket is needed if you only want to watch the stream on YouTube! 

Our second episode is all about organic chemistry; with a twist. Robert Pollice, Assistant Professor at the University of Groningen, will join us on the 14th of March to share how advances in computing and robotics can revolutionise organic chemistry by accelerating the design of new catalysts.

Robert’s research can be described as nothing but state-of-the-art and ambitious. In his quest to design molecular catalysts for organic reactions, he is fusing the realms of simulation and lab automation to achieve accelerated discovery of new catalysts. Are you excited? We are!

To prepare, you can binge watch Season 1 and 2 on our YouTube channel. You may also enjoy this highlight reel from our last seasons. You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram, as well as subscribe to our mailing list for the latest updates!

See you soon!

Jessie’s goodbye party

This week we said goodbye to our postdoc Jessie van Buggenum who stayed in the group for a few years! Jessie was part of the Multi-omic measurements of cellular dynamics subgroup and was working on cellular signalling networks. Besides the hard work in the lab and behind the computer analysing the data, Jessie was the person who was taking all the group member pictures throughout the years! For who future career Jessie decided to go to industry.

Thank you Jessie for all the great time in the group and we wish you all the best in the future career! We will miss you!

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

On February 11 we are celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science! For this occasion we prepared a special video dedicated to all women and girls in science featuring our brilliant female group members. Hopefully this message will reach people at the right moment!

New publication on uncovering phenotypic characteristics and active signal transduction of human antibody secreting cells

New paper was published by our group members Erik van Buijtenen and Jessie van Buggenum together with collaborators Wout Janssen, Paul Vink, Maurice J.M. Habraken, Laura J.A. Wingens, Andrea van Elsas and Hans van Eenennaam! Here we use integrated multi-omic single-cell sequencing technologies to detect and quantify immunoglobulin subclass-specific surface markers, transcriptional profiles and signaling transduction pathway components. We tested whether human antibody secreting cells (ASCs) that only seem to differ in its ability to secrete different IgM, IgA, or IgG antibodies, exhibit other differences that characterize these different ASCs. Our approach detected differential expression of plasmablast and plasma cell markers, homing receptors and TNF receptors. In addition, differential sensitivity was observed for the different cytokine stimulations that were applied during in vitro differentiation. Taken together, our integrated multi-omics approach allowed high-resolution phenotypic characterization of single cells in a heterogenous sample of in vitro differentiated human ASCs.

Congratulations to Erik, Jessie and Wilhelm!!

Click here to read the paper

LNC Season 3. Scientific understanding from AI with Tal Kachman

The Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck is back again with its exciting new Season 3. Just like last season, we are bringing it to you LIVE from Radboud University Nijmegen with a studio audience hosted by Prof. Wilhelm Huck. Of course, we will still follow our tradition of live streaming so that you can enjoy these fascinating lectures from your home, in the lab or on the bus! In this new season, we will dive deep with the exciting topic of Chemistry and AI. From complex learning to using AI for drug discovery, we have a range of topics covered with our speaker lineup!

The first episode of Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck is on Tuesday 14th February, 20h00 CET!

This episode will be streamed live on our YouTube channel Late Night Conference with WH (don’t forget to subscribe & watch our previous exciting episodes!) from Giga-Bite at Huygensgebouw in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, where we are excited to have you in our audience!!

Get your FREE ticket here to be in the audience in the Netherlands

Please note – no ticket is needed if you only want to watch the stream on YouTube! 

Our opening episode features Dr. Tal Kachman, an Assistant Professor of Donders Centre for Cognition at Radboud University. Tal’s research covers a broad range of complex problems, like Computational Game Theory, and Financial and Quantum Machine Learning. Sounds… complex. Right? Join us on the 14th of February to learn how AI can be used to predict some of the most complex challenges known to humanity!

To prepare, you can binge watch Season 1 and 2 on our YouTube channel. You may also enjoy this highlight reel from our last seasons. You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram, as well as subscribe to our mailing list for the latest updates!

See you soon!

New paper published: Computing Arithmetic Functions Using Immobilised Reaction Networks

Nikita, Mathieu, Lía and Wilhelm together with Max Derks from Laboratory of Spectroscopy and Catalysis and Labmate published a new paper on enzyme-based computation! They used proteolytic enzymatic networks immobilised in hydrogel beads and compartmentalised in a CSTR as a novel platform for molecular information processing. They demonstrated robustness of the platform in performing the fundamental arithmetic operations of addition, subtraction and multiplication. This analogue logic approach goes beyond the Boolean gates and has potential applications in future bioelectronic devices. The concept of analogue logic helps to generalize our understanding of computation in catalytic networks.Congratulations!!

You can find the paper here.