First principle kinetics and molecular dynamics simulations of complex chemical transformations in nanoporous materials, Modeling the function of nanostructured materials, Nanoporous materials, chemical kinetics, heterogeneous catalysis
Veronique Van Speybroeck is full professor at the Ghent University within the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, since October 2012. She also holds a position as Research Professor at the Ghent University since October 2007. She graduated as engineer in physics at the Ghent University in 1997 and obtained her Ph.D in 2001 on a subject dealing with theoretical simulations of chemical reactions with static and dynamical approaches under the supervision of Prof. M. Waroquier. After her PhD she received a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Fund for Scientific Research Flanders and had the possibility to travel to various foreign institutes for short periods. She was co-founder in 2000 of the Center for Molecular Modeling (CMM), which is now composed of about 40 researchers and groups researchers from the faculties of Science and Engineering and Architecture with molecular modeling interests. The CMM aims to model molecules, materials and processes at the nanoscale by bringing together physicists, chemists, (bio-)engineers and stimulating collaborations across disciplines. This multidisciplinary collaborative mission is the DNA of the CMM and key to achieve scientific excellence in the field of molecular modeling.
Since 2012, she is head of the CMM responsible for daily operation including organizational, logistics and personnel affairs. Veronique Van Speybroeck has a record of significant contributions in the field of modeling nanoporous materials for catalysis, adsorption, e.g. zeolites, Metal-Organic Frameworks, Covalent Organic Frameworks; all applications are inspired and performed in close synergy with experimental groups. Within the CMM, Van Speybroeck is leading a team consisting of ca 5 postdoctoral researchers, 13 PhD students and 5-10 Master students (on a yearly basis).
Within the framework of an ERC Starting grant (granted in 2010) she built up a substantial expertise in first principle kinetics in nanoporous materials and developed methods to accurately calculate chemical kinetics of catalytic reactions taking place in nanoporous materials. In 2015, Van Speybroeck received an ERC Consolidator grant to simulate complex chemical transformations in nanoporous materials at operating conditions by means of first principle molecular dynamics simulations. It was discovered that the functional response of materials is largely affected by the conditions in which they do the work, such as realistic temperature, pressures, presence of additional guest species in the pores of the material. Applications are situated in the field of heterogeneous catalysis, phase transformations in nanostructured materials. The research is strongly driven by the ambition to model as close as possible realistic materials/processes. To this end, she is recently exploring methods to also model spatially extended nanostructured materials, including defects and other spatial heterogeneities.
In 2012, Van Speybroeck was elected as full member of the Royal (Flemish) Academy for Science and the Arts of Belgium (KVAB, www.kvab.be). Furthermore she participates in various activities to enhance the impact of science on society. From 2012-2017, she was member of the STEM-platform which was installed by the Flemish government to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics training and careers.
Lecturer of various Master and Bachelor courses within the Faculties of Engineering and Sciences: Statistical Physics and Molecular Structure, Advanced Quantum Mechanics (Kwantummechanica II), Atomic and Molecular Physics, Molecular Modeling of industrial processes, Chemistry of Industrial Processes.