• Thursday August 22. Who What Whence
    • Enjoy Life @ Summer Vacation!

    Launching DEOPTIM – the only general-purpose de novo design software for molecules

    Pursuing a research vision for close-to a decade, Vidar Jensen and co-authors Marco Foscato and Vishwesh Venkatraman were happy to release the DENOPTIM software into the Open Source realm for everybody to use and to extend.

    DENOPTIM is the only available general-purpose de novo design software for molecules. It may be used to design all kinds of functional molecules, ranging from pharmaceuticals to organometallic catalysts. It may thus be used, and make an impact, across chemistry. The usage of DENOPTIM is also likely to be promoted by the fact that it is freely available as Open Source from the GitHub project. The authors have documented some of the key methods implemented in DENOPTIM in the scientific literature already. (1, 2, 3).

    photo: Egil

    In addition to providing the world with a useful tool, the launch is also about positioning the research group on the international arena. From this perspective, a fitting and catching logo is of considerable value, and Inger Johanne pitched in with creative twists! All involved parties are congratulated!


    Outreach – Everyday chemistry tips

    Outreach comes in many flavors and serves different purposes, yet usually entails sharing your knowledge with laymen while promoting your institution. Other  characteristics are that outreach takes time, is poorly paid, and depends critically on your priorities. On the positive side, you may reach crazy many readers, as Tore did today.

    And even more importantly, he probably nudged the public opinion of what a chemist is and does, a micron or two in the positive direction. What if we all followed suit?



    UiB Action plan for HSE, 2019-2021

     A new Action Plan for Health, Safety and the Environment has just been released, based on UiB’s Strategy 2019-2022 «Knowledge that shapes society.» It is centered around three HSE goals that should characterize UiB: (i) A good working community, (ii) Safe and functional workplaces, and (iii) Good safety culture and emergency preparedness. Maybe this sounds familiar after the HSE-Day on Wednesday? Each HSE goal is a priority area specified through sub-goals for the period 2019 – 2021 and is to be followed up through measures taken at the central UiB level as well as locally through action plans developed at the MN faculty and at our department.

    Ugleprisen goes to INF100

    Ugleprisen, the University of Bergen’s annual prize for high quality in education, was yesterday awarded to INF100/101 for Anya Helene Bagge’s efforts to develop a new and student-activizing tool for learning computer programming. Anya is addicted to quality in education — some of you may remember that in 2017 she received the distinction as Lecturer of the Year at our faculty. At that point, she advised her fellow teachers to show that their subject is relevant and useful for the students, and to let them use their knowledge and skills for something they find interesting. The importance of activating students was emphasized also at the university leadership conference at Solstrand yesterday. Quoting Anya’s boss at the informatics department, «there seems to be a general agreement that regular lectures where the professor talks for 90 minutes are not the way to continue. The same is true for exercise sessions. We have to make sure that the students are actively learning throughout these sessions, and not just passively receiving new material or solutions to exercises. This requires all of us to think in new ways.» These thoughts resonate well with our discussions over educational topics at the HSE-Day last Wednesday.

    We congratulate Anya and the Department of Informatics, and are pleased to note that all freshman students at our faculty will benefit from the good work put into developing INF100 from the fall of 2020, as part of the phasing-in of transferable skills in all programs!

    Welcome Thibault!

    Thibault Tubiana is a new postdoctoral fellow working with Nathalie Reuter on the FreMedBio-funded PePrMInt project. During his PhD at the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA – Paris Saclay), he studied the norovirus capsid self-assembly using molecular dynamics, homology modelling, protein/protein docking but also some experiments with Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS). During his PhD years, he taught in the Bioinformatics Master of the University of Paris Diderot (Paris VII), mainly in Python, Unix, Biostatistics and molecular visualization software. The present appointment is his second postdoc position; the first one was at a pharmaceutical company near Paris.


    Summer guests

    In week 26 and 27 (June 24 — July 4), VilVite will be using our two course laboratories at the 4th floor for the SommerViten program. SommerViten is directed at pupils at levels 7 to 10, i.e. the last four levels in the public school system.
    Monday to Thursday these weeks, about 40 youngsters will be present in these two labs from 9.30 to 15.00. If you should meet any of them straying off the narrow path, please help them back to the labs at the 4th floor!

    In the aftermath of the HSE-Day

    I would like to thank everybody for their pleasant company and valuable contributions and suggestions during the HSE event yesterday! Special thanks go to Kristin, Lisbeth and Reidun for taking part in planning the event, and to Svein for his many good suggestions for group tasks!


    Each and one of us will be going on and off vacation at different dates during the next one-and-a-half months. Hope that you all get a nice and well-deserved summer vacation, with even more of the lovely sun we had on the pier and better-looking crab than we saw at IMR.

    The role of UiB in NORA

    As mentioned at TCLS today, there is a full-day seminar on the role of UiB in NORA, the Norwegian Artificial Intelligence Research Consortium tomorrow Friday June 21, taking place in the Large auditorium, 2nd floor Datablokken, Høyteknologisenteret.

    10:00 Welcome and background for the meetingPinar Heggernes, Dept. head of informatics, and chair of the board of NORA 

    10:15 Presentation of NORA, with questions and discussion: Klas Pettersen, director of NORA 

    10:45-12:00 and 13:00:14:00: Presentation of AI and ML related research at UiB

    Attend MSc presentations next couple of weeks!

    Although the MSc ceremony has already been held, reality is that quite a few of the master exams at the department come up the next couple of weeks. Each master exam starts by the candidate giving a presentation of the research project. This presentation is open to the public and you are encouraged to attend and thus to contribute to creating a nice framework for the event. You have a lot of interesting topics to choose from: (Date time @ Room: Candidate: Thesis title)

    June 21 09h15 @ 2018: Lena HelvikA study in environmental chemistry: natural and anthropogenic radionuclides in sediment cores from the Norwegian Trench and the Vefsnfjord

    June 24 10h15 @ Tripletten: Tora SkarvatunSynthetic studies toward substrates and inhibitors for N-terminal acetyltransferases

    June 17 9h00 @ 2018: Ingrid Trydal RønsbergNew insights on equilibrium forms of anthocyanins – Complete characterization of hemiketal forms of pigments isolated from grape skins

    June 17 14h15 @ 2018: Mohammed Zakarya AlhajiAn Experimental Study of Bulk Foam Properties with Commercial Surfactants in Saline Environments

    June 18 10h00 @ Tripletten: Carina Yeeka WuAntisolvent precipitation method to synthesize nanoparticles of psychotropic drugs 

    June 18 10h15 @ Grupperom 6: Nina Marselie NilsenKartlegging av metoder innen høyfelts MRI og NMR-spektroskopi for bestemmelse av fuktegenskaper i porøse medium

    June 18 11h00 @ 2018: Gunhild HaustveitpH indikatorar: Inkorporering av pH-indikatorar i porøse silikastrukturar, som er syntetisert direkte på substrat, og hydrogelar med pH-avhengig ekspansjon

    June 20 08h15 @ Tripletten: Øyvind BrandtzægMultivariat analyse av CO2-absorbsjon ved bruk av ulike aminblandingsforhold 

    June 20 10h15 @ 2018: Simen Prang FølknerSynthesis and Characterization of Metal Oxide-Supported Nanoparticles for Hydrodeoxygenation of Phenols and Phenyl Ethers

    June 20 11h00 @ Reagensglaset: Ann Kristin Danielsen JacobsenHvordan løser elever i videregående skole beregningsoppgaver i kjemi? En kvalitativ studie av elevers prøvebesvarelser og oppgavebaserte intervjuer

    June 20 11h15 @ Tripletten: Merethe BirkelandA Study of Salmon Pituitary Tissue using Magic Angle Spinning 1H-NMR

    EXPO2019 – interesting and inspiring

    EXPO2019 is a big happening running all day (until 4 pm) at Campus Kronstad, where all the new engineers present their bachelor and master projects through creative stands. This is a great opportunity for insight into the research activities at the Faculty of Engineering and Science at the Western Norway University of Applied Science (aka Høgskulen på Vestlandet). A number of the chemistry projects hold an impressive level of quality — hope to see many of the new engineers as MSc students at our department when the new semester starts up!

    Great effort to device a new synthetic route for bexarotene

    These guys have constructed the rig behind them and designed and programmed a system for gauging the level of filling of the liquid tank.