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Personal profile


Katja Loos is Professor at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials of the University of Groningen, holding the chair of Macromolecular Chemistry and New Polymeric Materials. She specialized in Organic Chemistry and Polymer Chemistry during her university studies at the Johannes Gutenberg Universität in Mainz, Germany and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, USA. She moved into the field of Enzymatic Polymerizations during her doctoral research at the University of Bayreuth, Germany and the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brasil. After a postdoctoral research stay at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, NY, USA she started an independent research group at the University of Groningen.

Katja Loos pioneered the field of enzymatic polymerization, especially the biocatalytic synthesis of polysaccharides and polyamides, and the synthesis and self-assembly of PVDF containing block copolymers. Already early in her career Katja Loos was awarded two travel scholarships of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and she received the very prestigious Feodor Lynen Fellowship award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to conduct her postdoctoral research. During her independent research career, on the basis of her unique approach in combining modern polymer synthesis, (macro) molecular self-assembly, and utilization of the arising structures the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded her the prestigious VIDI grant in 2009 and VICI grant in 2014 and the German Research Council (DFG) the Eleonore Trefftz guest professorship within the scope of its excellency initiative. Among others she was awarded the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the IUPAC Distinguished Women in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Award and the Team Science Award of the Dutch Research Council (NWO). In 2022 she was elected President of the European Polymer Federation for the period of 2023 to 2025.

Katja Loos is a Fellow of the Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

Selected Publications

Ye, C.; Voet, V. S. D.; Folkersma, R.; Loos, K., Robust Superamphiphilic Membrane with a Closed-Loop Life Cycle. Advanced Materials 2021, 33 (15), 2008460. doi: 10.1002/adma.202008460


A new generation of superamphiphilic vitrimer epoxy resin membranes (SAVER) has been developed as a solution to the international environmental challenge of oil-spill remediation. Conventional membrane designs have shown less convincing robustness under severe conditions during practical applications, and they can face foulants such as algae and sand in their working environment, leading to waste management problems. The biobased SAVER membrane design shows strong mechanical robustness and sustains exposure to aqua regia and sodium hydroxide solutions. Furthermore, dynamic transesterification reactions in the polymer network allow for easy recovery of the membrane when contaminated with mixed foulants, pointing to new directions in designing a closed-loop superamphiphilic membrane life cycle. SAVER separates water from a water/oil emulsion with high efficiency and exhibits a closed-loop life cycle due to its reversible network breaking and reforming property, allowing it to be easily recovered from contamination and minimizing adverse effects on the environment. The ease of SAVER fabrication process makes it suitable for future industrial scale production, and the chemical and mechanical robustness will extend its serving life significantly, which is crucial for the target application. SAVER is a promising solution for water remediation, standing out among a growing class of polymers designed for this purpose.


Kijk award

Terzic, I.; Meereboer, N. L.; Acuautla, M.; Portale, G.; Loos, K., Electroactive materials with tunable response based on block copolymer self-assembly. Nature Communications 2019, 10 (1), 601. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-08436-2

A new method for preparing ferroelectric polymers with improved and tunable properties has been developed using a block copolymer approach. By incorporating functional insulating polymer chains in the form of block copolymers, the ferroelectric response can be tuned and a range of switching behaviors can be achieved. The polarity of the amorphous block is the main parameter that affects the switching nature of block copolymers, and the choice of block strongly influences the compensational polarization and dipole reversal. A polar P2VP block was shown to be suitable for the preservation of ferroelectricity, while the incorporation of non-polar PS blocks results in linear dielectric properties. The incorporation of functional insulating blocks also has the potential to deliver additional benefits to the material, such as improved dispersion of nanoobjects and better adhesion to electrodes. These findings pave the way for developing improved functional materials for advanced applications using linear ferroelectric block-copolymers.



Maniar, D.; Jiang, Y.; Woortman, A. J. J.; van Dijken, J.; Loos, K., Furan-Based Copolyesters from Renewable Resources: Enzymatic Synthesis and Properties. ChemSusChem 2019, 12 (5), 990-999. doi: 10.1002/cssc.201802867


Enzymatic polymerization is a sustainable and effective way to convert renewable resources into polymeric materials. Furan-based copolyesters were synthesized with good molecular weights using Novozyme 435 as a biocatalyst and various monomers including dimethyl 2,5-furandicarboxylate (DMFDCA), 2,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan (BHMF), aliphatic linear diols, and diacid ethyl esters. The synthetic mechanism was evaluated by varying the aliphatic linear monomers and their feed compositions. Changing the aliphatic monomers from diols to diacid ethyl esters resulted in a significant decrease in the molecular weight due to BHMF ether formation and the monomer incorporation mechanism during copolymerization. The copolyesters were characterized and compared with their polyester analogs, and the thermal stability and crystallinity of the furan-based copolyesters were analyzed using TGA and DSC. The study provides a fundamental background for designing sustainable high-performance polymers through enzymatic pathways.


Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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