Category: Important!

ISOM-XXIV is off to a good start!

Vidar and Deryn were proud and thrilled to welcome to Bergen the participants of the 24thedition of the International Symposium on Olefin Metathesis and Related Chemistry!

Following the kick-off in 1976 in Mainz, this important series of conferences has been held every odd-numbered year up to and including 2019, when ISOM-23 was held in Barcelona. 2021 was the exception, for reasons well known to all. Now, the olefin metathesis community is again gathered and gathering strength for new progress, right here in Bergen!

Located at the West Coast at the slopes of high mountains, Bergen has been an internationally oriented city since way before Hanseatic time, and it makes perfect sense that this international symposium is held in Bergen. On the other hand, there is no denying that geographically, Norway lies at the outskirts of Europe. We rely on our guests to bring the world in and thereby include us in the international community.

Priority research areas at University of Bergen are Marine research, Climate and energy transition, and Global challenges. Chemistry holds the keys to progress on many of these challenges, including the sustainable synthesis of materials and chemicals, better pharmaceuticals, the utilization of bio-based feedstocks, and low-carbon energy carriers, to name but few.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in their press release on the 2005 Nobel prize in chemistry, hailed olefin metathesis as one of organic chemistry’s most important reactions. Continuing, “This represents a great step forward for “green chemistry”, reducing potentially hazardous waste through smarter production. Metathesis is an example of how important basic science has been applied for the benefit of man, society and the environment.”

The scientific program of ISOM-24 very much reflects this rôle, as exemplified by session titles such as Sustainable metathesis, sustainable catalysts, and circular economy. Another observation from the program, is the forward-leaning and ambitious attitude, which is truly becoming for a mature scientific field. Session titles New perspectives, New frontiers, and Emerging reactions indicate that there is still much ground to break before the potential of olefin metathesis is fully achieved and put to work!

In their bid for ISOM-24, the conference chairs, professors Deryn Fogg and Vidar Jensen, expressed concern that the actual industrial uptake of olefin metathesis technology has been slower than expected. This puts double pressure on the ISOM series, as the main arena for communication between stakeholders in olefin metathesis.

Department of Chemistry is proud to be entrusted the organization of this important event. The conference chairs have done everything in their power to ensure a top scientific program and exciting extra-scientific events. Moreover, the local organizing committee, including

  • Karianne Søreide
  • Pål Magnus Gunnestad
  • Giovanni Occhipinti
  • Marco Foscato
  • Saifon Maneesai
  • Lise Clarke Capp-Isaksen

have made a massive effort in planning, preparing and now driving the many cogwheels that make a conference buzz, with good help from Christian Blanco, Eliza-Jayne Boisvert, Samantha Cormier, Jonas Ekeli, Dmytro Lemeshchenko, and Immanuel Reim.

In addition to stimulating and challenging scientific talks, the value of a conference also lies in the informal discussions, about observations yet unexplained, of failed attempts that rarely make it to the top journals, of thoughts on how and where to proceed, of collaborations to push for progress, of introducing young colleagues to an extensive network and so on. It remains with the participants see to it that ISOM-24 becomes a great success also in this respect!

For a few days Bergen is the center of the olefin metathesis community!

Congrats to dr. Stian!

Last Friday, Stian Hersvik Hegdahl’s dissertation ceremony got a semi-frenetic prologue as it became evident that one of the opponents was stuck and would not get to Bergen in time! Thanks to Stian himself, our PhD-advisor Torill and considerable and hard-earned experience from the Covid years, a fully satisfactory hybride format of the ceremony was rapidly concocted. After Stian had presented highlights from his thesis «From waste to bio-oil: Hydrothermal liquefaction of digested sewage sludge in small and large scale», dr  Patrick Biller, Aarhus University, examined the candidate for over an hour from Kastrup and from the big screen in Auditorium 1. Opponent dr. Joseph Samec, Stockholms Universitet, physically present, continued the examination, and Stian continued answering promptly and clearly. The evaluation committee, including both opponents and local member Øyvind, approved of the performance. The newly minted philosophiae doctor Stian and main supervisors Tanja and Camilla were all pleased and happy as well! Our congratulations to Stian and thanks to all contributors with assigned roles as well as all those showing up in the lecture hall!

Congrats to dr. Louise

The evaluation committee, including opponents Dag Erlend Olberg and Nina Kann, newly minted philosophiae doctor Louise Bergsjø Sand, and main supervisor Bengt Erik Haug were all pleased and happy about Louise’s performance today! Our congratulations to Louise and thanks to all contributors with assigned roles as well as all those showing up in the lecture room!

Follow Louise defending her thesis!

On Thursday May 25, at 10.30–13.00 in Auditorium 2, Science Bldg, MSc Louise Bergsjø Sand will defend her thesis «Synthetic studies toward [18F]-fluorination of solid-supported silyl ethers». In this work, the foundations have been laid for a new method for 18F radiolabelling of peptides and other biologically relevant molecules. In addition, peptide-based tracers for PET imaging have been prepared.

A number of different silyl ethers have been prepared to investigate fluorine-initiated breaking of silicon-oxygen bonds for radiolabeling of biologically relevant molecules. Synthesis of silanes and chlorosilanes with different substitution patterns has laid the foundation for further stability studies and exploration of fluorination conditions. The preparation of Si-O bonds was challenging for the sterically hindered di-tert-butyl analogues, while for the diisopropyl analogues silyl ethers with varied functionality on the aromatic ring (azide, aldehyde, ethers) were made. One silyl ether analogue was immobilized on the solid phase and fluorinations of both non-immobilized and immobilized precursor were successful. Testing of [18F]-fluorination of the solid-phase precursor at the PET center at Haukeland University Hospital gave promising results. Further studies of reaction conditions are necessary to be able to illuminate the full potential of the method.

Three peptide-based tracers suitable for studying activation of the immune system have also been prepared. These contain various chelators that can be coordinated to metallic radioisotopes. The three precursors will be radiolabeled with [68Ga], and potentially [64Cu], and will be studied further by our partners in Tromsø.

Louise Bergsjø Sand (b. 1992) holds a master’s degree in chemistry (UiB, 2016). The doctoral work has been financed by UiB and the Trond Mohn Foundation, and the project has been carried out at both the Department of Chemistry at UiB and at the PET center at Haukeland Hospital (HUS). The main supervisor has been Prof. Bengt Erik Haug (Department of Chemistry, UiB) and co-supervisors have been Ole Heine Kvernenes (PET center, HUS) and Emmet Mc Cormack (K2, HUS).

Important step toward a total makeover of the Science Bldg and beyond

For those who reads Norwegian: Les dekanens blog denne veka (temaet ser du i utklippet under)!

For those who prefers English, please continue below the picture!


Important steps toward a fully modernized campus – the Nygårdshøyden South project

(the Dean’s blog, google translated and slightly revised:)

This week we have received good news from the Ministry of Education (KD)! KD has given us a written order for Assignment For Project (OFP), which means that we are allowed a less industrious path than what is usual in this type of large construction project.

This decision has been taken by KD and the Ministry of Finance on the basis of the analysis note Nygårdshøyden sør (NGHS) – Science building and Fysikkbygget – need for total rehabilitation, which was sent to KD last spring. MatNat at all levels, the Real Estate Department (EIA) and the management at UiB have done extensive and thorough work, and the ministries agree that rehabilitation of the Science and Physics building is a good framework for our project. Thank you all for your efforts thus far!

This also means that we avoid the task of generating (unrealistic) alternatives for relocating MatNat with subsequent extensive documentation. We at MatNat almost take it for granted that the faculty should be part of the knowledge environment at Høyden, and that we should have a close collaboration with the city’s other players. It is the premise that has led us to invest heavily in the rehabilitation and reuse of buildings, which is also the only sensible thing to do in light of the green shift.

We will take the good work that has already been done with us further into the process. In OFP, in collaboration with EIA, we will, among other things, work further with goals and results, infrastructure needs, cost estimates, implementation plan and organisation. We will investigate two different concepts for rehabilitation. The completed OFP will then undergo external evaluation, and our aim is to get the go-ahead to start the preliminary project as soon as possible.

We are now working in parallel with Allégaten 64. Since January this year, EIA and the UiB management have had frequent and ongoing dialogue with KD. Here, too, there are several points that need to be clarified, but we hope for good news on that front before the summer holidays.

For us, it feels as if we are escaping a penalty round, others might say that we have found a shortcut. No matter how you describe it, there is no doubt that the solid, thorough work that has been done so far has been absolutely crucial for NGHS to have taken an important step forward this week.

Join us at Global Women Breakfast: More Voices at the Table



Join us on Tuesday February 14, 2023 for the IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast (#GWB2023), held in conjunction with the U.N. Day of Women and Girls in Science. The goal of the GWB series is to establish an active network of people to overcome the barriers to gender equality in science. GWB is also a flagship event of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development bringing together people from all science disciplines. GWB events are to take place all over the world, and the Department of Chemistry is pleased to organize this event at the University of Bergen, under the title More Voices at the Table.

Where: Auditorium 4, 4th floor, Science Bldg.  When: Tuesday Feb 14, at 9am-11am.


Dean of the MN Faculty, Gunn Mangerud, will give an opening address.

Susan Pedigo, professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at University of Mississippi, will give the feature talk, with the same title as the event.

The lecture is followed by a panel discussion led by Nathalie Reuter (Dept. Chemistry, and CBU), with panelists Fredrik Manne (Inst. Informatics), Edoseghe Edwin Osagiede (Dept. Earth Science),  Sevil Sümer, Fac. Social & Educ. Sci., NTNU, and Susan Pedigo, OleMiss.

New company KinSea spun out from research at the Department of Chemistry and partners

Founders: Professors Bengt Erik Haug, UiB, and Kine Østnes Hansen, Annette Bayer, Jeanette Hammer Andersen, and Espen Holst Hansen, all UiT Photo: KinSea

The road from research laboratory to actually founding a company with the aim to bring a new therapeutic agent to the market is exceedingly long and thorny, and we are very pleased to congratulate Bengt Erik and his collaborators in Tromsø with reaching this milestone with KinSea Lead Discovery AS!

The company, KinSea, is formed on the basis of a proprietary drug class developed by the founders and is based on a naturally occurring molecule isolated from a benthic animal taken from the Barents Sea. The molecules have potential as pan-mutant FLT3 kinase inhibitors for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), including drug-resistant mutations that are traditionally difficult to treat.

The effect has been shown in an animal model for AML, and the founders have also shown that the drugs have superior properties compared to existing FLT3 inhibitors, including broad activity against drug-induced resistant FLT3 mutants, improved selectivity and high activity in vivo. KinSea will further develop the technology to a preclinical candidate that will be ready for advanced preclinical and clinical testing through license agreements with partners. The company also wants to utilize UiT’s collection of bioactive substances from marine organisms to gradually expand its portfolio within drug development to become a sustainable supplier of promising drug candidates based on discoveries in our northern sea areas.

KinSea have ambitions beyond the specific drug classes described above, and aim to establish a broad portfolio of drug development projects based on the partners» unique access to bioactive substances from the Arctic and expertise in drug development. Quoting Bengt Erik Haug, professor in the Bioresources and Pharmaceutical chemistry group at our department, and now also inventor, Gründer and research director at KinSea: We look forward to continuing our long-standing collaboration in marine bioprospecting and taking our FLT3 inhibitors further through the development process towards clinical testing.

The project has been developed in a collaboration between UiT Norges arktiske universitet, Universitetet I Bergen, and Lead Discovery Center GmbH through several projects funded by the Norwegian Research Council and the regional biotechnology program MABIT. KinSea is initially financed through a convertible loan from KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG, a German venture fund with a focus on early-stage investments within drug development. The investor composition will be expanded in the time to come.


Mali receives certification as holder of the prestigious TMS Starting Grant

TMS Starting Grant. Foto: Eivind Senneset, UiB

On the 1st of August 2022, Mali’s TMS Starting grant project, Recyclable Catalysts for Sustainable Polymers from CO2 and Bio-based Epoxides (ReCat4Polymer), officially started. On Friday the 23rd of September she officially received her TMS badge from the Trond Mohn Foundation. The event was the TMS alumni night at Tårnsalen at the University Museum. Our rector Margareth Hagen was also present to celebrate the three new grant holders, Mali from Chemistry, Suzette Flantua at the Department of Biological Sciences and Carina Strell at the Centre for Cancer Biomarkers (CCBIO).

The aim of the generous funds from the Trond Mohn Foundation and the University of Bergen is to build up a research group to study recyclable catalysts for the production of sustainable plastics, where CO2 will be used as one of the raw materials.

TMS Starting Grant. Foto: Eivind Senneset, UiB

Mali will develop efficient and fully recyclable catalysts for the sustainable production of modern materials without the use of fossil raw materials. The project focuses specifically on the development of recyclable catalysts for the production of sustainable polymers, where CO2 and bio-based epoxides will be used as raw materials. This will be an important contribution to the UN’s 12th sustainability goal; «Responsible consumption and production». The key to obtaining suitable and recyclable catalysts lies in introducing polyoxometalates (POMs). POMs are a special class of inorganic compounds that is one of Mali’s specialties from her PhD at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. PhD student Leah Kristen Rai is already in place at the institute.

Welcome to our new Research Advisor and PhD Coordinator, Torill Andersen Eidsvaag!

Bergenser og UiB alumn. Jeg har en bachelor i fysikk fra UiB og en master i forskningsformidling fra University of the West of England i Bristol. Jeg har jobbet ved UiB i snart åtte år, først i studieseksjonen ved MN-fakultetet og de siste tre årene som koordinator for UiB sin havvindsatsning, Bergen Offshore Wind Centre (BOW). I studieseksjonen har jeg jobbet hovedsakelig med vitnemål og internasjonalisering. Ved BOW har jeg hatt mange roller og vært med på å bygge opp senteret sammen med faglig ledelse. Jeg brenner for å skape gode rammer og godt miljø rundt forskning og utdanning og jeg gleder meg veldig til å bli kjent med dere på Kjemisk institutt!

Bergenser and UiB alumnus. I have a bachelor’s in physics from UiB and a master’s in research communication from the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol. I have worked at UiB for almost eight years, first in the study section at the MN faculty and for the last three years as coordinator for UiB’s offshore wind initiative, Bergen Offshore Wind Center (BOW). In the study section, I have mainly worked with diplomas and internationalisation. At BOW, I have had many roles and helped to build up the center together with professional management. I am passionate about creating good frameworks and a good environment around research and education and I am very much looking forward to getting to know you at the Department of Chemistry!

Vennlig hilsen Torill

Ledig stilling ved Kjemisk: Forskningsrådgiver / PhD-koordinator

Full søknadsteksten her!

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