Peter Schoenmakers: Meet the Editorial Advisory Board
Van’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tell us about yourself and your research...
I lead a very international lab group, with members from all over the world (Iran, France, Portugal, Greece, Italy, and beyond). And that’s less of a surprise when you consider that we take on roughly 80 master’s students each year. We also run a number of PhDs – five of which are taken by extremely tall Dutch men right now! Luckily, we remain somewhat diverse, as the sixth spot is taken by a very talented woman. Together, we focus on separations (largely HPLC and multidimensional LC) for all sorts of applications.
What makes you tick?
At the moment, the prospect of in-person interaction is a big factor. I think this will have to wait until summer at least; teaching could then potentially return to normal much later. Of course, we should wait until this is totally safe. The last time I went back into the university was on Sep 2, and I caught COVID-19 immediately. Luckily it was a mild case. It looks like it might be a while before we can do nice things like celebrate birthdays together again. For now, our lab has agreed that we will begin celebrating birthdays again after the middle of March 2021 (presuming things improve by then)!
What keeps you up at night?
The impact of COVID-19 on colleagues and peers. I know groups and companies where people have ended up in intensive care; other departments have lost many. Another (much less serious) thing that keeps me up are the logistical issues of cybersecurity concerned with working remotely. I often find myself at war with cybersecurity processes...
Do you have any personal (or general) milestones from 2020 you’d like to share?
The way our communication has changed is a huge milestone. We connect much more logically now – it’s easier, and distances are no longer an obstacle. A great example is a PhD defence. Usually at least one or two people won’t make it, but that’s not an issue right now. Another positive: we’ve had much more time to write without lab access – a lot of people are writing literature reviews! As a result, there’s also more to read! At least that can keep us busy.
Top paper of 2020
Definitely: “Multiple heart-cutting two-dimensional chip-HPLC combined with deep-UV fluorescence and mass spectrometric detection” from Belder and colleagues (1).
- SK Piendl et al., Anal Chem, 92, 3795 (2020). DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.9b05206