April 21st, 2023 – Autonomous Matter Symposium @AMOLF

The Lerch group went for a trip to Amsterdam to join the AMOLF Autonomous Matter Symposium, where we had a chance to listen to leaders in the field, brainstorm about what autonomous actually means, and meet new colleagues and friends. Thanks to all the organizers and speakers for an excellent conference!

The Lerch group at the AMOLF Autonomous Matter Symposium.

April 20th, 2023 – Highschool Thesis Prize Event

Martijn and Jarne were representing the Beil & Lerch groups at the yearly award ceremony for high school students for the so-called ´profielwerkstukken´. They show-cased how one can use the speedmixer to make goo from gummy bears!

Jarne with the Speedmixer at the PWS prijsuitreiking.

April 20th, 2023 – Michael visits the soft matter groups in Leiden

Michael visited Leiden University and the Leiden Institute for Physics to give a talk at the regular SLAM colloquium (SLAM = soft living and active matter). It was an inspiring day with many exciting scientific discussions. Thank you!

April 17th, 2023 – Our group is growing further!

Welcome Tushar! We have Tushar Narayan Singh join us for 8 weeks for his BSc thesis on intelligent actuators! Go soft robots!

April 1st, 2023 – Welcome Marina!

Marina Karsakova is joining the Lerch Laboratory as 3rd PhD student. She has a BSc in BSc in chemical engineering at St. Petersburg State Institute of Technology and a Master´s Degree in physics from ITMO University. We are super happy to have Marina join our team and are looking forward for her to lead our efforts in functional coatings as part of ARC CBBC!

March 24th, 2023 – 1st Groningen Münster Symposium

The Stratingh Institute for Chemstry had important guests: a delegation of the chemistry department of the University of Münster (WWU Münster, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster) joined us for the 1st Groningen Münster Symposium. Over a full day, we had the pleasure to exchange most recent results, listen to captivating talks, and forge (and renew) connections! We are grateful for a productive and fun day and thank especially the Stratingh Institute and the Backer Foundation for financial support.

Our group was well-represented by Pepijn during the poster session!

Pepijn Rang presenting the Lerch group poster.

March 23rd – 31st, 2023 – Fotini visits Boston & Brookhaven National Labs

Fotini is traveling to Boston and the Brookhaven National Labs to perform measurements and visit the national synchrotron light source – 2 (NSLS-II). Success with your measurements and greetings to beautiful New England and Long Island.

March 9th, 2023 – Jarne´s trip to Utrecht

As part of ARC CBBC, Jarne is following a presentation training, which takes place at the University of Utrecht and is organized by ARTESC. Go Jarne!

February 21st, 2023 – Official LEAF Launch and Award Ceremony

After a successful pilot program (including the Lerch & Beil research groups), the Faculty of Science and Engineering is officially launching the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) at the University of Groningen. Thomas Freese (LEAF coordinator) and Fotini Trigka (our lab sustainability officer) presented about the LEAF pilot and shared tips on how to make labs more sustainable. In addition, we had the honor to receive the official accreditation and awards from the faculty board! We are grateful for the strong support of the faculty and university, particularly by Green Labs RUG FSE, the Green Office, GreenLabs.NL, and the SELs network.

February 13th, 2023 – Michael at AMOLF

Michael had the opportunity to present our work at the Autonomous Matter colloquium at AMOLF in Amsterdam. Thank you to all group leaders and researchers for making it such a fun experience!

January 30/31st, 2023 – Pepijn visits Berlin

Pepijn is undertaking a trip to our collaborators in Berlin for measurements! Success and have fun!

December 20th, 2022 – Lerch Lab achieves Silver Level in LEAF Programme

Our lab sustainability officer Fotini has delivered on her promise to get our lab to the next LEAF level before Christmas. We are proud to announce that we have reached Silver Level in the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF).

November 22nd, 2022 – Sustainable Efforts Featured in the UKrant

Our efforts to make our labs more sustainable have been covered by the university newspaper (UKrant). Read more here:

November 14th, 2022 – Dutch Soft Matter Meeting at Wageningen University

Our Team ventured to Wageningen University & Research (WUR) for the 32nd Dutch Soft Matter Meeting. We enjoyed a day full of interesting and fun science across physics, materials sciences and chemistry.

The Lerch group at the Dutch Soft Matter Meeting (Michael, Jarne, Pepijn, and Fotini; left to right)

October 27th, 2022 – A Crucial Step for Lab Sustainability

The Lerch lab has been working hard to ensure we are doing our part to contribute to a more sustainable research environment. We are proud to announce that we have reached Bronze Level in the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF). Key steps to reduce our environmental impact are proper and safe waste disposal, recycling wherever possible, energy saving on equipment, and increasing awareness about sustainable practices. A big thank you to Fotini for getting our lab in shape and for Thomas Freese for his help as LEAF coordinator. We are also grateful for all the efforts and support by the Green Labs RUG FSE, the Green Office, GreenLabs.NL, and the SELs network.

Jarne, Fotini & Thomas (left to right) celebrating the LEAF bronze level

September 30th/October 1st, 2022 – Zpannend Zernike

The Lerch group will be present at Zpannend Zernike this weekend at the Forum in Groningen. Join us for the EU Researchers Night on Friday evening and for a fun little experiment on Saturday afternoon to learn more about polymer processing!

September 29th, 2022 – Lecture at AMOLF/UvA

Michael was invited to talk about soft robotics at the group event of the Noorduin/Reek lab in Amsterdam. It was a very enjoyable (though short) visit, thank you!

September 20.-22., 2022 – CHAINS Conference

The Lerch group was joining the yearly Dutch chemistry conference CHAINS at the Koningshof in Veldhoven in the south of the Netherlands. Michael presented the results of the NextGenChem@NL meeting during the PI meeting the evening before the conference. Jarne presented a poster on his recent work. Overall, it was two days packed with top science and interesting discussions and fun social events. Thank you and until next year!

Lerch group at CHAINS (Fotini, Pepijn, & Jarne; from left to right).

August 3rd, 2022 – PhD vacancy

The Lerch lab is hiring! As part of the ARC CBBC Multilateral Program on smart coatings, there will be a PhD student vacancy to support our efforts on smart coatings and structurally colored materials.

August 1st, 2022 – Fotini joins our group

Fotini Trigka is joining the Lerch Laboratory as 2nd PhD student. She has a BSc and MSc both from the University of Athens, having worked as part of the Athens Organocatalysis group with Prof. Kokotos. After graduating, she has spent a year teaching. We are excited to welcome Fotini to our team and are looking forward for her to join our efforts in patterend reaction cascades.

July 2022 – Course of the Year 2021-2022 for Molecules of Life for BME

Our course Molecules of Life for the Biomedical Engineers has been chosen as the course of the year by the Bachelor program biomedical engineering. We are very proud and it has been a lot of fun teaching this course. Thanks to my co-lecturers Clemens Mayer (course coordinator), who set up the course, and to Wiktor Szymanski.

The lecturers of ´Molecules of Life for BME´ with the certificate and award mug.

June 22nd/23rd, 2022 – FMS course in Supramolecular Chemistry

For the last part of the FMS course in supramolecular chemistry, FMS students traveled to the Nijmegen. Jarne had a lot of fun (beyond discovering the awesome PTE below).

Jarne at Radboud University

June 20th, 2022 – Stratingh Day

A very successful institute day at the Biotoop in Haren packed full of science, lectures, and fun activities (including a relay race and a visit to the local botanical garden). We even had some moments to relax in the sun!

Lerch group (Michael, Jarne, & Ruichen; left to right)

June 2022 – We join the LEAF Network

As part of the Stratingh Sustainability Committee we have managed to advocated our institute to become part of the LEAF network (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework), a program for making research labs more sustainable. A big shout out to Thomas Freese, Meagen Beatty, and everyone else involved! Also thanks to & the sustainable european laboratories network (SELs).

June 5th-9th, 2022 – Jarne joins the Summer School on Soft Solids and Complex Fluids

Jarne has ventured across the ocean to learn more about soft matter, materials sciences, and physics. As part of the Summer School on Soft Solids and Complex Fluids at UMass Amherst in Massachusetts (USA), he learned about active matter (Julia Yeomans), elasto-capillary phenomena (Narayanan Menon), amorphous solids (Bulbul Chakrabotry), and geometrical and topological principles in soft matter (Mark Bowick).

May 24/25th, 2022 – FMS course in Supramolecular Chemistry

After a successful two days in Groningen earlier this month (with talk also by Michael), FMS students traveled to the University of Twente to learn more about cutting edge research in supramolecular chemistry. A successful event with plenty of learning experiences!

Jarne at UT

April 12/13th, 2022 – ARC CBBC Lab Opening

Our labs (and others on the 9th floor of the Linneausborg) have been officially opened as part of the ARC CBBC Symposium 2022. A range of interesting panel sessions, intriguing show-cases, lightning talks, and live-streams from the labs have made the symposium a productive community event and exciting get-together.

March 1st, 2022 – Welcome Ruichen

Ruichen Zhang is joining our team for 4 months to work on multi-stimuli-responsive meta-material structures. We are looking forward to an exciting and productive months!

Jan. 24-26th, 2022 – Physics@Veldhoven

This years edition of Physics@Veldhoven took place fully online. The Lerch group was present through a poster presented by Michael on Wednesday Jan. 26th. On Tuesday Jan. 25th, ARC CBBC hosted a focus session on ´Functional responsive materials´ featuring fascinating talks by Prof. Bert Meijer, Prof. Nathalie Katsonis, and Prof. Peter Fratzl.

Jan. 1st, 2022 – First Ph.D. student – Jarne de Jong

Jarne has started his Ph.D. in the Lerch group. Welcome! Equipped with plenty of experience in spectroscopy and synthetic chemistry, Jarne will be working on synthetic reaction cascades embedded in soft materials! We are looking forward to your work!

Dec. 16th, 2021 – Change Inc. cover

Check out the coverage of ARC CBBC researchers in Change Inc., featuring among others also our work.

Dec. 9th, 2021 – JACS paper on spiropyran dynamics in hydrogels accepted

Our recent work (from my postdoc) on unusual isomerization dynamics in spiropyran-based hydrogels has been accepted at the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Congratulations Amos, Tom, and Ankita! Check it out here!

Dec. 3rd, 2021 – Lerch lab at the University of Groningen M.Sc. Infomarket

At today’s infomarket for Master Students, the Lerch lab is present with a poster. Come by and say ‚hi‘ and learn more about the interesting science happening at the Lerch Lab and become part of the team!

Nov. 19th, 2021 – NWO Talent Day

On Friday, Nov. 19th, Michael went to Utrecht for the NWO Talent Day, an inspiring afternoon packed with talks and workshops.

Oct. 18th, 2021 – Coverage About Our Work

Sebastian Beil (L) and Michael Lerch (R), Photo by ARC CBBC, 2021

Check out this new portrait about my work recently published by the University, which also features the work of my new colleague Sebastian Beil.

Oct. 3rd, 2021 – Weekend of Science in Groningen

Past weekend, the ARC CBBC hub Groningen was well-represented at the Weekend van de Wetenschap! Despite continuous rain, we had many young future scientists joining our truck and learn about sustainable paint, the power of light, and how we make the coatings of the future. It was tremendous fun and we are looking forward to next year´s edition! Many thanks also to Zpannend Zernike.