A stack of papers to be read, two coffee mugs; one which reminds me of my time at Åbo, a lonely apple, a to-do list, and a pair of headphones sit on my cluttered desk. My eyes occasionally wander towards the misty view out of the 7th floor window, on a chilly December afternoon, and yet not a single mountain in sight as far as the eyes can gaze reminding me that I’m now in Wageningen – a small Dutch town – as you may have guessed from the lack of mountains. (Im)patiently sitting in the office until my supervisor reads my research proposal, it is tough not to walk down the memory lane.

Although only a few moons have passed since I arrived in The Netherlands, that spectacular journey took me halfway across the globe, from a small tropical island in South Asia, across the Atlantic to North America, and finally few hops and jumps within Europe. It would take pages after pages to pen and reminisce on the delightful things that had taken place, and the amazing souls that I’ve had the privilege of being in company with, in these mere seven odd years.

Towards the tail end of the summer of 2017, I was on a direct flight, with a mild hangover, from sunny and warm Mediterranean to far up North, where the temperature reaches so far below zero that polar bears are occasionally seen sharing saunas with people and where the sun is so elusive for half the year that the government has to put up a hologram of the sun once in a while. I may be exaggerating just a little bit. Finland, the land of a thousand lakes, I’m finally at my destination. A breath of fresh air greets me as I walk out of the airport. As numerous thoughts flood through my mind, including why on earth am I not wearing any warm clothes (because I left all of them in Estonia, duh!), I hear a familiar and friendly voice. Who could this be? Not even five minutes in a country that I’ve never been before. The voice pulls me back to reality from my la la land.

“Oh, hello!” I hear. As I turn around I see Johan, one of my future supervisors smiling at me. He’s just getting back from China. We exchange some pleasantries, and he boards an earlier bus headed to Åbo as I wait for mine to arrive. Åbo is to be my home for at least the coming year. Still a little skeptical about my choice of the 2nd year study track (electrochemistry, what was I thinking?), I too get on my bus. As we reach Åbo, the scenery outside paints a familiar picture. Just as The Emajõgi flows through Tartu, the river Aura graces Åbo. The familiarity puts my mind at a relative ease.

It did not take long for my colleagues and I to get well acquainted with Åbo. Whatever doubts we may have had vanished as soon as we started our work. Everyone in the lab and the analytical chemistry department were extremely helpful and would not hesitate to offer a helping hand whenever needed. The study program at Åbo is broken down to chewable pieces so that a complex field of study can be digested.

 

Sense of autonomy and flexibility are the best qualities we enjoyed during our time at Åbo. There was no one to look over our shoulders. Yet the help was available literally next door, if needed, despite how busy our supervisors were. We had several classes scattered throughout the year to lay a strong theoretical foundation, nevertheless, the majority of our time was focused on hands-on innovative research. Individual projects were assigned to each one of us, which provided us with a thorough practical grasp on electrochemistry. Thus, we were able to transition into our master thesis topics with ease.

It wasn’t just academics that made the stay in Åbo interesting. Much needed laughter and inside jokes with my officemates Jaypee and Slim, made the lab work more pleasant, which would otherwise be mundane sometimes. Random coffee breaks at 3 in the afternoon with wonderful company were a welcome addition. There were numerous celebrations, reasons for which escapes my mind at the moment, but there was definitely cake and chocolate involved. We were also very fortunate to be there when both Finland and Åbo turned a century. Needless to say, it was spectacular.

In Åbo, and in Finland in general, there was warmth and friendship to be found in every corner even during the darkest and the coldest time of the year. Plentiful days and nights have been spent with friends, whether it’s a hiking trip, a bbq, a sauna night, a pub crawl, or a board game night, the context didn’t matter. The company made all the difference. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of dancing northern lights, just outside of your apartment.

 

 

There were definitely times when I stared hopelessly at a blank document or a confusing paper or bewildering lab results, where the questions from my colleagues were met with simple grunts or incomprehensible gibberish. Now that I started my PhD, I have come to understand that this is much more common behavior in academia. Nevertheless, in the coming years, I would undeniably look back fondly at the time I spent in both Åbo and Tartu. I consider myself to be fortunate and privileged to be a part of the EACH family, not simply because of the amazing program that has evidently become a cornerstone of my career, but most importantly because of the lifelong friendships that were founded within these two years. I would not or could not have guessed that the past two years would be so monumental in my life.

But now, disrupting my train of thoughts, a reminder pops up on my screen saying I need to be at a meeting in 15 minutes. The mist outside my window is also clearing off. I need to be elsewhere soon but the memories of EACH will always be delightful and heartwarming.

 

LCMS Method Validation online course offered by UTOn Feb 15, 2019 the on-line course (MOOC) LC-MS Method Validation finished successfully!
Altogether 426 (424 in 2018, 303 in 2017) people were registered from 70 countries (71 in 2018, 61 in 2017) countries. 227 (236 in 2018, 224 in 2017) participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 125 (159 in 2018, 168 in 2017) successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 29% (37% in 2018, 55% in 2017). The completion rate of participants who actually started the studies was 55% (67% in 2018, 75% in 2017). As can be seen, almost all these statistics have been getting worse year after year. We are working n analysing the situation. On the positive side it can be said that the completion rates more than 0% of those who started can be considered very good by any measure. Thus we probably can be reasonably happy with the completion rate that we have this time.

As has been the usual case with our online courses, the questions from the participants were often very interesting, often addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. Such discussions made teaching this course a great experience also for us, the teachers!

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn 2019.

 

 

The 2019 edition of the web course (MOOC) Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis will be running during Mar 26 – May 7, 2019. Registration is open!

The full course material (as well as the registration link) is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get higher than 50% score in every graded test. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from University of Tartu. A digital certificate of completion is free of charge. A certificate of completion on paper can be requested for a fee of 60 euros.

You are welcome to distribute this message to potentially interested people!

In the morning of the fourth Winter school day (24.01.19) Dr. Franck Baco-Antoniali from EACH associated partner Axel’One gave an overview of the specifics of industrial analysis and process control and its differences from the traditional chemical analysis. In some cases the differences are dramatic.

The next session was dedicated to presentations from student teams on their glucose measurement projects. Students measured glucose with three different systems – two commercial blood glucometers and an amperometric system built on site. The results of glucose measurements in blood agreed very well between the two commercial meters.
Typical results were 5.4 vs 5.3 mM; 6.1 vs 5.8 mM; 5.4 vs 5.6 mM; 5.6 vs 5.0 mM, etc. All these values are very realistic for a healthy organism. The results of the self-made meter gave dramatically – by 2-4 times – underestimated results. The reason is quite clear: the commercial meters are calibrated specifically for blood, taking into account all matrix effects. At the same time, the self-made meter was calibrated with simple solution of glucose. So, it was a very good demonstration of the importance of matrix match when calibrating.

We thank all participants for the enjoyable winter school experience!

The next EACH Winter school will take place in Estonia.

(Photos: top left: Franck Baco-Antoniali showing his collaboration partners in industry; right and bottom: student teams presenting their results)

 

In the morning of the third Winter school day came the information long awaited by the students – their assigned study tracks of the second year. It took quite some discussions both among the consortium committee members and with students to ensure that all students will be assigned to the study tracks that are the most suitable for them. We hope that we succeeded!

The study track announcement was followed by taking the group photo – near and on a large pile of snow near the venue. Snow is always an exciting material for some of the EACH students, because every year there are some who have never physically experienced snow before coming to the EACH programme.

The evening was dedicated to recreational activities: skating and bowling.

Photo top left: group photo; photo right (by Johan): Good shot! From the bowling on Wed evening; Photo bottom left (by Allen): Skating!

 

The second day of the EACH Winter school was full of excitement: student teams performed measurements of glucose with amperometric sensors. This is a highly important measurement for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes, as enhanced blood glucose level is the key symptom of diabetes and glucose meters are possibly the most widespread amperometric sensors available.

The main measurement technology is biosensing, using either glucose oxidase or glucose dehydrogenase that is applied to the electrode system, along with auxiliary compounds. In simplified manner the operation can be viewed as: glucose oxidation by some auxiliary compound is catalysed by the enzyme, the amount of the reduced form of the auxiliary compound is then measured amperometrically and recalculated into glucose amount.

Student teams made measurements and compared results from three different instruments: two commercial (containing different enzymes) and one that has been built by the sensors group of the Åbo Akademi. The results of the measurements and comparison between instruments will be summarized at a presentation session on the last day of the Winter school.

A very pleasant feature of the practical session was that among teachers were EACH graduates Jay Pee Oña and Kenneth Arandia. Many thanks to you for joining us!

Photos: top left: Jay Pee Oña (right) showing glucose measurements; right: Ville Yrjänä explaining glucose measurements; bottom left: students discussing with Ville Yrjänä (right) and Kenneth Arandia (left)

 

On Jan 21, 2019, the fourth Winter School of the EACH programme started in Åbo/Turku (Finland). Altogether 37 students from more than 20 countries participate.

The Winter School offers a diverse set of activities to the participants. There are lectures on advanced analytical chemistry topics (metabolomics, non-targete screening in environmental chemistry, industrial analysis and process control, etc) by top experts, group works and entertainment. The intense working is counterbalanced by social activities – swimmming pool, skating, etc.

Traditionally an important activity in the Winter school is selecting first year students to study tracks. In order to give one more piece of information what the study tracks are about, there was a session of presentations on the first day by second year students on their master thesis topics (see photos). Another exciting session planned in the Winter school is related to using electrochemical sensors in real life: hands-on session on using amperometric glucose sensors.Full information about the Winter School activities is available at the EACH Winter School web page.

Photos: Uppsala (top left), Lyon (right) and Åbo (bottom left) students presenting about their life and studies.

The students from the second intake of the EACH programme successfully defended their theses over the summer of 2018 (Please see here: defence at UUdefence at AAU, and  defence at UCBL). We have carried out a small survey and found that out of the 17 fresh graduates, 15 already have by now found a new position!

Some of the graduates work in the professional/industrial field. The positions obtained range from a Senior Process Engineer in a Multinational company to chemists in a pharmaceutical companies, and a chemist at National Food Agency of Sweden to research assistant at a university. A number of graduates are continuing their academic career by pursuing a doctoral degree. The universities that our graduates have managed to obtain Ph.D. positions range from Canada to Finland.

Here is what some of the fresh graduates of the EACH programme say about their experience with the programme:

Alisija Prakapaite (UU study-track), currently working as an analytical scientist at AstraZeneca, a bio-pharmaceutical company in Sweden: I was that lucky person, who got accepted to EACH program in 2016. And by saying lucky – I mean it. EACH was not only a kick off point in my career, but it was a life changing experience.
The first year at Tartu gave me very good basics of analytical chemistry, uncertainty (Measurement uncertainty online course is an absolute must!) and chemometrics. During my second year at Uppsala University we had only one course at the time. But we were going deeply into theory and then putting our knowledge into the practice in our daily lab work with different instruments. It was a lot of work, but on the other hand – a lot of experience. So don’t get scared! This work pays off afterwards with all the acquired knowledge.
After this program, I can certainly say that I am confident in myself, as an analytical chemist, and in my skills. Now I am working in Gothenburg, Sweden, at AstraZeneca as an Analytical Scientist. Due to my experience from these studies, I could easily join the ongoing work.

Jay Pee Oña (AAU study-track), Ph.D. student at AAU, Finland: The EACH program has definitely provided a valuable boost to my academic career. The Tartu-Åbo study-track has introduced me to the world of electrochemistry, a field that has regained interest in recent years due to the development of fuel cells and point-of-care diagnostics, among many others. Right after graduation, I started my doctoral studies at Åbo Akademi University. The main topic of my research is biomass conversion for fuel and chemical production, where a significant part will involve electrocatalysis and online analysis of reaction products. Therefore, much of the skills and knowledge that I have obtained from the EACH program can be applied in my current work.
Aside from the technical expertise, EACH provides numerous opportunities to improve one’s soft skills, such as adaptability and teamwork, which are very important in a multicultural working environment.

Kalliroi Sdougkou (UU study-track), Ph.D. of Stockholm University, Sweden: The EACH programme was an overall amazing experience for me. I spent two wonderful years at two great universities, I travelled and made friends from all over the world. The programme is very well organized and it gives you all you need to enter the job-market. When I finished my master’s degree in Uppsala, I was glad to find myself capable of applying to quite a lot of positions for analytical chemists in Sweden. In the end I decided to pursue third cycle studies, something that I would probably not be prepared and confident to do without the EACH programme.

 

Marko Bertic, Ph.D student at Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany:
Immediately after arriving in France, I realized that all the classes I took in Tartu would be used in one way or another. In France all the lectures are OBLIGATORY and there were no midterm exams in general. Because of this, all the final exams were squeezed in one week (that’s right, approximately 1-2 exams per day). Second semester gave me a great opportunity to do a 6 months internship in French company in industry. For me this was the best part of choosing France as a second-year country. Furthermore, we were paid for this period (another positive of this study-track). Working in the company was again a challenge since not all the people there spoke English, so our French skills came to the fore one more time. This period of about 1 year made us integrate into the French society and I can say for sure we are all at least 20 % French now.
This programme opened many doors for me. I applied for couple of Ph.D. positions and in each interview first thing they asked me was to explain in detail what my master’s programme is about. It was very interesting and made me a very attractive choice.

 

Please, also see the blog post from Snežana about her time in the EACH programme.

 

We wish all the best to our graduates!

 

On Dec 3, 2018 Ivo Leito gave a presentation at the Sample Treatment 2018 conference (Caparica, Portugal) about the EACH programme and specifically about how is sample treatment included in the EACH programme.

A key feature of the presentation was a question to the participants as for what else could/should the EACH programme contain in terms of sample preparation, especially keeping in mind emerging techniques. Another one was a call to come to teach at EACH as visiting scholar. During the subsequent coffee breaks a number of people approached Ivo and interesting ideas were proposed as to what to include into the programme’s set of covered sample preparation approaches (dialysis, different microextractin techniques, sonication, etc). Several people also expressed interest to contribute to the programme as visiting scholars.

Call of applications to the EACH visiting scholar scheme is constantly open at the EACH Visiting scholars page and submitting of application is non-binding, so it is encouraged also if you are not yet sure whether you will come.

We are thankful to all participants for their feedback and ideas!

 

“Long may bicycle rain”

“Welcome to Uppsala, the city of nature, student nations, unique tradition and a place where you can not survive if you don’t have a bicycle” is the sentence that we heard several times when we arrived in Uppsala. At first sight, it was similar to Tartu, but at the same time so different in many ways.

Even though I thought that it was an exaggeration, it is true that a life in Uppsala depends on a bicycle. As we were living in student accommodation Flogsta, surrounded by the forest, and since the city transport was too slow, riding a bike was the best way to get around the city. Except when the snow starts to melt, then it’s a nightmare from which, fortunately, you wake up quickly.

 

Work, work and more work

Biomedicum (BMC) as a part of Uppsala University, was the place where we spent every day from the end of August until the end of December. The building is so big and confusing that at first, we needed a map to find the lecture rooms. Yes, you read correctly, a map! The concept of studies was different from the University of Tartu. At Uppsala University we were studying one course at the time, so when the lectures were finished, the fun and the real work started. Intense lab work where some of them included a fieldwork with collecting samples, and writing the reports were our everyday routine. If you haven’t experienced soil and water sampling while the rain is pouring, then you will when you come to Uppsala to study chemistry. We knew the importance of sampling in analytical chemistry, but one thing is to study how it should be done and something completely different when you get to perform it, that is when you really remember it. If you add on top of that a rain and a group of students running around the city with muddy boots, you get the day that it will be very hard to forget it.

 

I think that everyone will agree with me when I say that the most interesting part was the time spent in the lab and with the instruments. Put an analytical chemist in the room with HPLC, GC or MS and he will be the happiest person alive. The thrill of preparing your samples and organizing your work, the confusion of getting the results you didn’t expect, the rage when the instrument just decides that it won’t work when you need it, and the happiness when everything makes sense at the end, are just one of the emotions that we felt like a scientist to be.

When work is finished, you put a lot of clothes on you, ride a bike through icy road with an attempt not to fall, head back home and dive into writing the reports. If we were effective and fast, which we were, of course, our free time was reserved for the preparation of exam. You are probably asking when the sleep in our schedule was. You know the saying that sleeping is overrated, well while studying in Uppsala we proved that hypothesis. 3-4 hours per day in your comfy bed and a daily dose of caffeine are simple enough.

 

Now all of this will sound scary for future EACH students, but not everything is black and white. If you really love bioorganic analysis and analytical chemistry, the experience that you will gain during your time at Uppsala University is unreplaceable and it is worth the effort. Additionally, all of this can help you to realize your strengths and flaws and to decide if the analytical chemistry is something that you really want. In the end, nothing is going to come to you on a silver plate. If you want it, you must work very hard for it.

 

Near Stockholm

“The Venice of the North” is the nickname that Stockholm definitely deserves. One of the advantages of Uppsala is that it is very close to Stockholm. Since we couldn’t travel as often as in the first year, a short trip to Stockholm was our biggest attraction. Even though that it is one the most expensive cities that I have been to, it is a great feeling to walk through the streets that are surrounded by water and beautiful parks. The boat ride is the best way to get away from stress, to turn off your computer and just to enjoy the nature and the spirit of Stockholm.

 

Life after EACH and job perspective

 

The University of Tartu gave me a good background of analytical chemistry while at the second-year university (Uppsala University) I got the chance to acquire knowledge in bioorganic analysis. For me, the EACH programme represented the first step forward in my carrier as an analytical chemist and now I am working as a researcher in CIPF Polymer Therapeutics Laboratory (Centro de Investigación Principe Felipe) in Valencia, Spain. This job position came as a result of my master’s thesis which I successfully performed there and defended at Uppsala University. Simultaneously, while working as a research assistant I will be pursuing a Ph.D. degree in chemistry at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. The focus of the project will be the development of analytical techniques for better characterization of polymeric drugs, for determination of polymeric drugs in biological samples and for better understanding the faith of polymeric particles once administered in the body.

Generally, as EACH alumni, I can say that it is not hard to find your place in the scientific world. Your CV is not only enriched with a master’s degree but also, with an international experience that makes you unique among others. The only thing that I have to mention is that in case you want to stay in Europe, but your residence is outside of the European Union, there is a much higher chance to find a Ph.D. project than a job in the company. The reason is just pure bureaucracy and not your expertise that you have after this study programme.

 

“Keep calm and study analytical chemistry”

 

Every moment of these two years, every breath I took in Tartu and Uppsala, every exam, every presentation and group work taught me something extraordinary. It taught me patience, and how to approach my craft. It taught me about collaboration, experimentation, risk, friendship, and empathy. There were the days where I couldn’t stop laughing, and nights when I wished I could have been sleeping in bed, instead of studying and writing the reports, but somehow, we made it through and we had fun even then. And if I got the chance to go back in time I would, with no doubts, choose the EACH programme again.

 

Snežana Đorđević

Today, On Nov 16, 2018 the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) unanimously decided to fundamentally remake the SI system of measurement units. Perhaps the most important change is that the kilogram will not be defined via a physical artefact – the platinum-iridium cylinder – but in terms of the Planck constant. As a result, for the first time the entire SI system will be defined entirely on the basis of fundamental constants, which has been the aim for decades!

The change will become effective on the 2019 World metrology day – May 20, 2019.

More information can be found in the post CGPM votes unanimously to change the SI by Dr Steve Ellison at the Eurachem website.

(Image: Wikipedia)

EACH_Erasmus_Mundus_JMDWe are glad to announce that the 2019 admission is officially open to the 5th intake of the Excellence in Analytical Chemistry (EACH) Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree programme!

This international two-year joint master degree programme educates specialists in analytical chemistry well qualified to work in industry (food, pharmaceutical, materials, energy, etc), chemical analysis laboratories (environment, food, health, etc) and research (developing new analysis devices or new analysis methods) worldwide. EACH provides knowledge and practical skills in both fundamental and applied aspects of modern analytical chemistry. Practical internship placement in industry or laboratories is an important part of the training.

The programme is suitable both for students who have finished their bachelor’s studies and want to continue in master’s studies, as well as for working analytical chemistry practitioners wishing to spend couple of years to bring their knowledge and skills to a new level.

The programme features generous scholarships as detailed in the Scholarships and tuition fees page.

The programme is taught by four universities: University of Tartu (UT, coordinator), Estonia; Uppsala University (UU), Sweden; University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL), France; and Åbo Akademi University (AAU), Finland. The language of instruction is English, but students will also learn to communicate in one of the languages of the countries involved.

The online application form, admission requirements, deadlines, list of necessary documents, instructions/explanations, as well as contact data for questions are available from the EACH Admission information page.

We wish you all the success in applying!

 

 

On Nov 05, 2018 Ivo Leito gave a presentation Unified pH about the pan-European research network of fundamental pH Research UnipHied (www.uniphied.eu) at the 7th Baltic Electrochemistry Conference organized by the University of Tartu.

The presentation started with explaining the need for the experimental realization and measurement capability of unified pH (pHabs). Thereafter the current state of art of measuring pHabs values was described and finally some first exemplary results were highlighted.

The presentation created a lot of interest from the participants and roughly as many questions were asked as for the other four presentations of the same session put together!

As of now, it is not possible to compare pH values of solutions made in different solvents, as every solvent has its own pH scale. This situation is highly unfortunate, since it causes confusion and inaccuracies into many fields, extending far beyond the specific field of acid-base chemistry. Examples are industrial catalytic processes, food chemistry, liquid chromatograpy, etc.

The central aim of the UnipHied network is to establish at international level measurement capability of pHabs values that would be applicable also at routine laboratory level. The two key activities for achieving that are creating a reliable method for the experimental or computational evaluation of the liquid junction potential and between aqueous and non-aqueous solutions and developing a coherent and validated suite of calibration standards for standardizing routine measurement systems in terms of pHabs values for a variety of widespread systems (e.g., industrial mixtures, soils/waters, food products, biomaterials).

The partners of the UnipHied network are LNE (France, coordinator), BFKH (Hungary), CMI (Czech Republic), DFM (Denmark), IPQ (Portugal), PTB (Germany), SYKE (Finland), TÜBITAK-UME (Turkey), Freiburg University (Germany), ANBSensors (United Kingdom), FCiencias.ID (Portugal), UT (Estonia, initiator).

UnipHied is funded from the EMPIR programme (project 17FUN09) co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

On Oct 26, 2018 Ivo Leito gave presentation titled Analytical chemistry education activities at University of Tartu at the EcoBalt 2018 conference in Vilnius (Lithuania).

The presentation contains information about the on-line courses LC-MS Method Validation and Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis, as well as the recently published tutorial reviews (Validation I, Validation II, LoD I, LoD II) that form the basis of the LC-MS Method Validation course.

The presentation also addresses the international master’s programmes Applied Measurement Science and Excellence in Analytical Chemistry at University of Tartu.

The last part of the talk is devoted to the Eurachem 2018 General Assembly and Workshop that will take place in Tartu on May 20-21, 2018. The topic of the workshop is “Validation of targeted and non-targeted methods of analysis”.

Validation_of_LC-MS_Methods_Online_CourseWe are glad to announce that the third edition of the online course LC-MS Method Validation is open for registration at the address https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/ !

The course will be offered as a Massive Open On-line Course (MOOC) during Nov 27, 2018 – Feb 08, 2019.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) as technique, mostly (but not limited to) using the electrospray (ESI) ion source. The course will also be of interest to chromatographists using other detector types. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The course is largely based on the recently published two-part tutorial review:

The course materials include lectures, practical exercises and numerous tests for self-testing. In spite of being introductory, the course intends to offer sufficient knowledge and mathematical skills for carrying out validation for most of the common LC-MS analyses in routine laboratory environment. The real-life analysis situations for which there are either examples or self-tests are for example determination of pesticides in fruits and vegetables, perfluoroalkyl acids in water, antibiotics in blood serum, glyphosate and AMPA in surface water, etc. It is important to stress, that for successful validation practical experience – both in analytical chemistry as such and also specifically in validation – is crucial and this can be acquired only through hands-on laboratory work, which cannot be offered via an on-line course.

Participation in the course is free of charge. Receiving digital certificate (in the case of successful completion) is also free of charge. Printed certificate (to be sent by post) is available for a fee of 60 EUR. Registration is possible until the start of the course. The course material is available from the above address all the time and can be used via web by anyone who wishes to improve the knowledge and skills in analytical method validation (especially when using LC-ESI-MS).

 

During 29.09-10.10.2018 the EACH programme has been hosting visiting scholar, Prof. Narendra Nath Ghosh from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, K K Birla Goa Campus (India). He conducted an intensive course Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology and their Applications in Analytical Chemistry.

This lecture series started with introduction to nanomaterials and nanotechnology, the origin of nanotechnology and nanomaterials, and how and why the properties of nanomaterials are different from bulk materials. It then developed to cover design of a variety of nanostructured materials, their preparation techniques and different analytical instrumental methods for structural characterization of nanomaterials. Finally, a significant amount of time was devoted to the use of nanomaterials in different analytical techniques, especially in sensor applications and applications of these sensors in real life (detection and estimation of different types of analytes such as glucose, H2O2, metal ions, etc and how these nanosensors can be used for health monitoring, food quality monitoring, and environmental monitoring).

Altogether 15 students (out of them 6 EACH students) participated in the course and their feedback was very positive.

Prof. Ghosh is the Associate Dean, International Program and Collaboration at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, K K Birla Goa Campus. His research interests embrace development of new and novel chemical methodologies for preparation of nanomaterials, mesoporous materials and nanocomposites, as well as applications of nanomaterials in catalysis, sensors, separations, microwave absorption, supercapacitor etc.

(Photo by Ivo Leito: Prof. Ghosh, in the middle, with students)

 

Recently the Analytical chemistry group of University of Tartu participated in a cutting-edge research endeavor: characterizing the acidity of some extremely efficient strongly acidic organocatalysts. In the case of the Mukaiyama aldol reaction the best of them (1) worked at low ppm to sub-ppm level, (2) gave excellent yields and (3) high enantiomeric selectivity as well as (4) turnover numbers (TON numbers) of hundreds of thousands (Nature Chemistry 2018, 10, 888-894).

The extent to which these four features occurred together in the same catalyst was so remarkable that the results were published in one of the most prestigious journals in chemical sciences: Nature Chemistry.

The extremely demanding acidity measurements were performed by Dr Karl Kaupmees using the unique non-aqueous acid-base chemistry facility that the group is running. The whole research project was led by the group of professor Benjamin List – a worldwide known guru in the field of strongly acidic catalysts working at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung.
These results are expected to open new avenues in development of powerful new organocatalysts.

(Photo by Andres Tennus: Karl doing acidity measurements in a glovebox under anhydrous conditions)

On September 6, 2018 the master thesis defence took place at University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL). Dmitriy Chikhirev, Abhishek Sonu, Malika Beishanova and Marco Bertic (left to right on the photo) successfully defended their master’s theses!

Congratulations to all of you!

As is typical for the Lyon study track, the topics of the theses were very practical and linked to industrial interests – applications of spectroscopy in industrial process control, on-line chromatographic systems, advanced sensor technology, etc. This choice of topics and the long-standing industrial collaboration are rooted in the world-famous industrial analysis and control study direction at UCBL led by prof. Jérôme Randon.

 

This week is the first study week for the new students of Applied Measurement Science and EACH Erasmus Mundus Joint Programme. Altogether 27 students started their studies. This is the largest joint number of students of these two programmes.

As a result of the rather large number of students, the countries of origin of the students are also very diverse: Vietnam, Philippines, Brazil, Estonia, Nepal, Thailand, Peru, India, Netherlands, Fiji, Albania, Nigeria, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Ukraine, Pakistan and Turkey. And for the first time all six inhabited continents are represented!

During the introductory meeting on Monday 03.09.18 an overview of both programmes was given (see the slides) and a large number of questions were asked and answered, accompanied by tea/coffee and cake. The session ended with an entertaining “get-to-know-each-other” game organized by the tutor Kristi Palk (far left on the photo).

We wish successful studies to all new students!

 

On August 10, 2018 the master thesis defence session of the second of the EACH programme took place at Åbo Akademi University (AAU)! Kenneth Arandia, Changbai Li, Jay Pee Oña and Jayaruwan Gunathilake Gamaethiralalage successfully defended their master’s theses. (first row on the photo, left to right)

Congratulations to all of you!

The defence took place in front of an international jury – Tom Lindfors (Finland), Patrik Eklund (Finland), Johan Bobacka (Finland), AdrianaFerancova (Slovakia/Finland), Ivo Leito (Estonia), Hanno Evard (Estonia). (second row on the photo, right to left, Hanno participated via Skype)

Most of the defended theses focused on development and applications of advanced electrochemical sensing devices – preparation of all-solid-state sensors, solid state reference electrodes, calibration-free potentiometric analytical devices, etc.

Most of the students who defended their theses have already secured either a PhD position or a job in industry.

(Photo: Jayaruwan Gunathilake)

 

A new paper on ancient dietary practices was recently published by our group (led by Dr. Ester Oras) in the Journal of Archaeological Science: “Social food here and hereafter: Multiproxy analysis of gender-specific food consumption in conversion period inhumation cemetery at Kukruse, NE-Estonia”.

We demonstrated the fruitfulness of multiproxy dietary analysis combining plant microfossil, human bone stable isotope and pottery related organic residue analysis. The results reveal that even 800 years ago men and women had different dietary habits: men preferred fish and higher trophic level terrestrial animals (e.g. pork), whilst women declined towards ruminant carcass (a nice steak!) and dairy products.

The paper is one of the few of its kind illustrating ancient food consumption as a highly social phenomenon, and setting an example for microscale dietary analysis in the future.

 

On Saturday 21.07.2018 The MSC Euromaster Summer School 2018 (Tallinn, Estonia) finished. It was the 11th summer school of the Measurement Science in Chemistry consortium. The hallmark of the MSC Summer schools is “learning by doing” and combining learning with fun, meeting new people and sharing experience. The feedback from the Tartu participants is below and it indicates that organizing these Summer schools it is worth the effort!

 

 

 

Angelique Dafun:
MSC Summer School is a great experience to learn and have fun at the same time. It encompasses intensive learning and practical applications of metrology and accreditation that are significant for an analytical chemist in a “learning through play” way. It is an opportunity to gain knowledge from the experts in the field and to learn about the culture of people from different parts of the world. The schedule is tight and a little bit tiring but having an amazing group of people made it really rewarding. With other Filipinos, we dream of having this kind of summer school in our country someday in order to improve our system in analytical measurement.

 

 

Nikola Obradović:
The MSC Summer School is a great opportunity for all those who want hands-on experience in operating a laboratory under ISO/IEC 17025. Through many theoretical and practical exercises, the participant of this course is led through the whole process of method validation. But, the school is not all about studying. There is much networking going on here, with people making friends and partnering up to do new and exciting projects. Thus, for many, the end of the Summer School marks the start of a whole new chapter in their lives. As the moto of school states: “To mesure is a pleasure!”

 

 

Mark Justine Zapanta:
The MSC Summer School provides a great opportunity to deepens one’s knowledge and understanding of measurement science and accreditation in a fun and exciting way. The “learning through play” theme of the School allows participants to apply theories by making them think, design, implement, and evaluate their approach to answer an analytical problem. Outside the walls of the classroom, participants get to broaden their social network as the School is highly diverse with people coming from different cultures and backgrounds and it is the cultural exchange that adds more flavor and spice to the summer school. Attending the MSC Summer School is truly a one of a kind experience!

 

 

Ernesto Zapata Flores:
Well, it was more than the expected, I mean I met people from different countries around the world, from Ghana, Myanmar, Ireland, Belgium, Portugal, etc. I made a lot of friends. By the other side, there were some topics that I had learned at the University of Tartu, but others were completely new to me. The Professors had an excellent attitude towards us. It was an extremely good experience, the group work gave a lot of stress but it was exciting because of sharing points of view with people from different backgrounds and countries contributed to enrich not only the project but my own knowledge.

 

 

 

On Sunday 8th July, 38 students from 17 countries made their way to the beautiful city of Tallinn. The round of introductions already told us a lot about the individuals, much more than they intended. On Monday 9th July, armed with a little information and lots of things to think about, from the earlier sessions, the students set off, in their teams, to collect sea water samples (Photo on the left). All managed to complete the task but for some the waters were muddied, in more ways than one. Finding out the next day, Tuesday 10th, that salinity measurements are not trivial was a rich learning experience and shed light on many of the pitfalls awaiting the unsuspecting sampler/analyst.

These issues were then further embedded and clarified in various lectures (parts of the resource or process requirements of the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 namely chapters 7.1, 6.1 to 6.6, 7.1-7.8). Already on Tuesday evening the various laboratories (TEAM ONE, JCPT, K2Y, Cool Lab, Djam, We Click!, Elk Analytical, G.I.M.M., ISO CHEM and MONALU) had clearly defined roles and responsibilities for each of their staff. This was about to be tested when they got started on their measurements in the laboratory on Thursday afternoon, following a review of basic lab skills the day before.

Once in the lab the mixture of more and less experienced people really proved to be invaluable for both. It was really lovely to see the exchange of advice, with younger people sharing their intimate knowledge of software such as excel and what it can do and slightly older people providing perspective on what’s really important with respect to fitness for purpose decisions etc. (Ready for the lab! Photo on the right)

When the students had completed five full days of the summer school and were unwinding a little bit in Mektory’s lovely garden, sharing national food, drink, language tips, jokes, songs, (tall) tales from their countries, the idea of filming a mini ‘TV’ novella on Lab Safety was born. It just shows that free time is needed for creative juices to flow!

Saturday the 14th July was simply amazing. From learning that Estonians were Vikings too and what that actually meant, to learning some basic Viking skills (axe throwing and long bow shooting), followed by a hike to the magical Saula Springs, canoeing or long boat river excursion (Photo on the left) and finally ancient singing and dancing games (intermingled with dinner) left all feeling physically exhausted but mentally refreshed and ready for the World Cup Final on Sunday (preceded by a guided tour of Tallinn) and needless to say, another week of interactive learning.

 

On July 09, 2018 the 11th MSC Summer School started in the Mectory facility of the Tallinn University of Technology (Tallinn, Estonia).

Four students from the University of Tartu take part in the summer school. Three students are from the EACH programme: Angelique Dafun, Mark Justine Zapanta and Nikola Obradović. One student, Ernesto De Jesus Zapata Flores, is from the AMS programme. (Photo on the left, taken by Mark Justine Zapanta)

As in previous years, a core aim of the Summer school is teaching measurement science (metrology) topics related to analytical chemistry using active learning (“learning by doing”) approaches, as far as possible. Thus, efforts are made for increasing the share of discussions, hands-on work, teamwork. A key activity of the summer school is the contest of student teams (setting up virtual laboratories and interacting with customers), which tests their knowledge and skills in all areas of metrology in chemistry (Photo on the right).

We wish exciting and enjoyable Summer school to all participants!

 

Initiated by the University of Tartu analytical chemistry group, the pan-European research network of fundamental pH Research UnipHied started in May 2018.

Why is such network needed? As of now, it is not possible to compare pH values of solutions made in different solvents, as every solvent has its own pH scale. This situation is highly unfortunate, since it causes confusion and inaccuracies into many fields, extending far beyond the specific field of acid-base chemistry. Examples are industrial catalytic processes, food chemistry, liquid chromatograpy, etc. The central goal of UnipHied is to overcome this situation by putting the new theoretical concept of the recently introduced unified pHabs scale on a metrologically well-founded basis into practice.

The most important specific objectives of UnipHied are (1) to develop and validate a reliable and universally applicable measurement procedure that enables the measurement of pHabs; (2) to create a reliable method for the experimental or computational evaluation of the liquid junction potential between aqueous and non-aqueous solutions; (3) to develop a coherent and validated suite of calibration standards for standardizing routine measurement systems in terms of pHabs values for a variety of widespread systems (e.g., industrial mixtures, soils/waters, food products, biomaterials).

The first version of the pHabs measurement procedure has been created by Agnes Heering (Suu) in the framework of her PhD thesis. The main experimental difficulty is evaluation of the liquid junction potential (LJP), which will be thoroughly addressed by UnipHied. The first important steps towards this goal have very recently been made and published as two back-to-back papers: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 2344–2347 and Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 2348–2352
The key achievement described in the papers is finding an ionic liquid, namely [N2225][NTf2], that can be used as salt bridge electrolyte and has such properties that two out of three main sources of LJP are eliminated.

The partners of the UnipHied network are LNE (France, coordinator), BFKH (Hungary), CMI (Czech Republic), DFM (Denmark), IPQ (Portugal), PTB (Germany), SYKE (Finland), TÜBITAK-UME (Turkey), Freiburg University (Germany), ANBSensors (United Kingdom), FCiencias.ID (Portugal), UT (Estonia).

UnipHied is funded from the EMPIR programme (project 17FUN09) co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

 

On June 08, 2018 the master thesis defence of the second cohort of the EACH programme took place at Uppsala University! Thi Duong Bui, Anton Roshchin, Duc Khanh Tho Nguyen, Ruixin Huang, Alisija Prakapaitė, Kalliroi Sdougkou, Ajit Jung Karki and Snežana Đorđević successfully defended their master’s theses.

The topics of the theses embraced a wide area of modern biomed- and environmental analytical problems (MS imaging in biomedical research, LC-MS analysis of drugs in different matrices, evaluation of molecular markers for determination of efficiency in drinking water treatment processes, studies of photosynthesis, etc). All of them featured the use of highly sophisticated analytical instrumentation, such as high-resolution MS, imaging systems, etc. This choice of topics is largely directed by the world-famous biomedical analysis research direction at Uppsala University led by prof. Jonas Bergquist.

The average quality level of the theses was found to be very high by the defence committee members.

Congratulations to all of you!

(On photo from the left: Tho, Kalliroi, Alisija, Snežana, Ivo, Jonas, Duong, Ajit, Anton, Ruixin)

 

A comprehensive comparative validation for two different types of dissolved oxygen (DO) analyzers, amperometric and optical, together with estimation of measurement uncertainty is presented in the recently published article I. Helm, G. Karina, L. Jalukse, T. Pagano, I. Leito, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2018, 190, 313.

A number of performance characteristics were evaluated including drift, intermediate precision, accuracy of temperature compensation, accuracy of reading (under different measurement conditions), linearity, flow dependence of the reading, repeatability (reading stability), and matrix effects of dissolved salts. The matrix effects on readings in real samples were evaluated by analyzing the dependence of the reading on salt concentration (at saturation concentration of DO). The analyzers were also assessed in DO measurements of a number of natural waters. The uncertainty contributions of the main influencing parameters were estimated under different experimental conditions. It was found that the uncertainties of results for both analyzers are quite similar but the contributions of the uncertainty sources are different.

The results imply that the optical analyzer might not be as robust as is commonly assumed, however, it has better reading stability, lower stirring speed dependence, and typically requires less maintenance. On the other hand, the amperometric analyzer has a faster response and wider linear range.

(Photo by Lauri Jalukse: measurements of dissolved oxygen concentration with amperometric and optical analyzers at Jordan spring, Karksi-Nuia, Estonia)

 

University of TartuIn a recent ranking of universities in the “New Europe” – the 13 countries that have become EU members since 2004 – carried out by the Times higher Education, the University of Tartu was ranked as No 1!

University of Tartu is followed by the Cyprus University of Technology and University of Cyprus. The Charles University in Prague is ranked fourth.

The list includes 53 universities in total and uses the conventional methodology of THE World University Rankings.

 

Measurement_Uncertainty_MOOC_Successfully_FinishedOn May 14, 2018 the on-line course (MOOC) Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by University of Tartu finished successfully.
Eventually altogether 521 people registered (270 in 2014, 489 in 2015, 757 in 2016, 363 in 2017) from 76 countries (a number of participants joined after the start of the course). 358 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 218 successfully completed the course (141 in 2014, 169 in 2015, 308 in 2016, 148 in 2017). The overall completion rate was 42% (52% in 2014, 34% in 2015, 40% in 2016, 41% in 2017). The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 61% (67% in 2014, 60% in 2015, 67% in 2016, 68% in 2017). The completion rates are nicely consistent over the last years and can be considered very good for a MOOC, especially one that has quite difficult calculation exercises, which need to be done correctly for completing the course.

The participants were very active and asked lots of questions. The questions were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and the overall number of posts to them during the course period reached almost 300 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

This active participation made teaching of this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers. The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials, even during the course.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Spring 2019.

 

Dr_Thompson lecturingDuring Apr 4-8, 2018 The EACH programme had the pleasure of hosting visiting scholar, Dr. David F. Thompson from the Keele University (UK). He conducted an intensive course Introduction to Forensic Analysis.

This lecture series started with some basic forensic principles that underpin the use of analytical chemistry in the court room. It then developed to cover key biological samples that can be encountered in a forensic investigation along with their specific uses and pre-cautions that need to be taken during collection, storage, analysis and reporting of these sample types. A significant amount of time was devoted to understanding the ethical considerations around forensic analysis and how other regulation can affect an investigation. The final part of this series focused on some future directions in food fraud detection using metabonomic profiling.

Dr_Thompson_examining_fingerprints_with_studentsAn exciting part was a practical session on the analysis of fingerprints. Dr Thompson first explained the basics of fingerprint analysis, the classification of the patterns and the different levels of detail. He also had fingerprint swabs and fingerprint forms with him. Every student had the possibility to take his/her fingerprints and analyse them for the typical patterns.

Group photo of the Introduction to Forensic Analysis course (EACH)Altogether 27 students (out of them 15 EACH students) participated in the course and their feedback was very positive.

Dr. Thompson is the Forensic Science Programme Director at Keele and the module leader for the Forensic Toxicology, Drugs of Abuse and the final year project elements of the course. He also directs a research group that is focused on food fraud research using metabonomics.

(Photo up left: Dr. Thompson teaching the class; Photo on the right: Dr. Thompson examining fingerprints with students; Photo down left: Group photo with the participants)

 

U_MOOC_Countries_of_Participants_2018

On Tuesday, March 27, 2018 the web course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis was launched the fifth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course)!

Currently more than 450 participants from 70 countries are registered! As was the case in the previous years, the majority of participants are from analytical laboratories. This once again demonstrates the continuing need for training in measurement uncertainty estimation for practicing analytical chemists.

The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. As is usual, some developments and improvements have been made to the course material. in particular, the description of course organisatsion was improved; more explanations and examples were added on random and systematic effects within short and long term; the typical requirements for determining repeatability and within-lab reproducibility have been clearly outlined; more explanations on the main principles of modifying a model in a modelling approach have been given, together with an example. Some changes are still in the pipeline.

The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to pass six graded tests and get higher than 50% score from each of tehm. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

LCMS Method Validation online course offered by UTOn Feb 16, 2018 the on-line course (MOOC) LC-MS Method Validation finished successfully.

Altogether 424 (303 last year) people were registered from 71 (61 last year) countries. 236 (224 last year) participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 159 (168 last year) successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 37% (55% last year). The completion rate of participants who actually started the studies was 67% (75% last year). As can be seen, almost all these statistics are worse than they were the year ago. But then in the last year’s edition both completion rates were all time highest that our group has seen in any of our MOOCs. Thus we probably can be reasonably happy with the completion rates that we have now.

As has been the usual case with our online courses, the questions from the participants were often very interesting, often addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work and in several cases led to improvements in the course. This active participation made teaching this course a great experience also for us, the teachers! The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn 2018.

 

It was the spring of 2011 when I decided to apply to the AMS programme. If I remember correctly, the decision was based on my gut feeling and it was a right one. AMS was related to “perceived” world more than many other programmes in the faculty of science and technology as was also stated in the slogan “bridging the gap between measurements and society”.

5 years after the graduation I am still thankful for taking the journey, and I wanted to remind to myself and to others the three aspects that distinguished the programme from many others.

1) Combination of science and society. If you have the opportunity to combine your own favourite scientific topic (in my case biochemistry and measurement science) with knowledge about requirements related to law, regulations, and standards one has the possibility to give your thoughts a new perspective. It was beneficial for me in the labour market – there are not many people who know both of these aspects simultaneously which makes an AMS graduate a valuable specialist, mostly in private sector, but also in “pure” science. (I am currently working as a quality assurance specialist at Kevelt AS, which is a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Estonia.)

2) Improvement of communication skills. There was a lot of group work during the studies, which improved my social skills. There is nothing more important than human relations! We had the possibility to study with people from Uzbekistan, Latvia, China, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Jordan, Romania, France, Turkey, and many more. This enabled to study about other cultures, but also how to communicate with people from other cultures.

3) The inspiring (!) lecturers. Their eyes were sparkling when they spoke about their topics so vividly. I believe that people are best at what they really love to do and I aim for the same in my professional career.

I could not thank Prof. Ivo Leito more for such an important contribution to our (students´) lives as leading the AMS programme. He is passionate about what he is teaching and sincerely interested in answering the endless questions, giving us the opportunity to find our better selves in the progress of studies.

 

The_Winning_C_Team_and_the_Baby_Boss_InstrumentThe winner of the student team work of the EACH Winter school 2018 is team C – Snežana Đorđević, Kenneth Arandia, Lydia Man, Mohan Ghorasaini!

They built an instrument for controlling Baby food temperature – the Boss Baby Bottle Sensor. The instrument senses the temperature of a baby food container and indicates with LED lamps whether the temperature is too low, suitable or too high. In the latter case the system runs a fan for cooling the food. Nice instrument and nice presentation!

Baby_Boss_Instrument_in_Operation

 

Photos (Ivo Leito): Up: Kenneth, Lydia, Snežana and Mohan with the instrument and the prize (sweets). Right: Baby Boss Bottle Sensor in operation – cooling a too hot drink.

 

Turbidimeter lab at EACH Winter School 2018

Turbidimeter lab at EACH Winter School 2018

Possibly the most exciting activity at the EACH Winter School 2018 is the teamwork aiming at building some simple instrumentsusing the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (https://www.arduino.cc, see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arduino).

The instruments built were thermometer, light intensity meter and turbidimeter (!). All are small and simple, but highly useful devices. The Arduino motherboard is programmed and the obtained data are managed using laptops and a dedicated software. So, instruments can be built at very low cost and virtually everywhere.

 

Measuring with self-made turbidimeter

Measuring with self-made turbidimeter

It is quite a joy to generate analytical data (even if not the most accurate) using an instrument that the student has built his/herself!

Photos (by Ivo leito) show students working in the improvised “instrument manufacturing lab”.

Let there be light! The LED source of the turbidimeter

Let there be light! The LED source of the turbidimeter

Prof_Jerome_Randon_Explaining_Organization_of_EACH_Winter_School_2018On Jan 22, 2018, the third Winter School of the EACH programme started in Valpré (Lyon, France). Altogether 36 students from more than 20 countries participate.

The Winter School offers a diverse set of activities to the participants. There are lectures on advanced analytical chemistry topics (Smart sensors, high-resolution NMR, etc) by top experts, group works and entertainment. Several sessions are presented by practitioners from reserach labs and industry. The intense working is counterbalanced by social activities.

EACH_Lyon_team_explaining_their_thesis_work_and_life_in_LyonTraditionally an important activity in the Winter school is selecting first year students to study tracks. In order to give one more piece of information what the study tracks are about, there was a session of presentations on the first day by second year students on their master thesis topics (see photos).

EACH_Uppsala_team_explaining_their_thesis_work_and_life_in_UppsalaAnother exciting session planned in the Winter school is related to Do-it-yourself activities – building a sensor-based control system prototype and a simple turbidimeter.

EACH_Abo_Turku_team_explaining_their_thesis_work_and_life_in_Abo_Turku

 

 

Full information about the Winter School activities is available at the EACH Winter School web page.

Photos (Jayaruwan Gunathilake): Prof. Jérôme Randon explaining the organization of the Winter School (upmost photo); Groups of second year students from Lyon (up right), Åbo (right) and Uppsala (up left) explaining the life and master thesis work at their universities.

We wish all the participants enjoyable experience!

 

 

Measurements and computations of acidity and basicity of strong and superstrong acids (superacids) and bases in organic solvents is among the core research topics at the UT Chair of Analytical Chemistry. In a recent works (Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 6964-6973.,    J. Phys. Org. Chem. 2013, 26, 162-170.,    J. Phys. Chem. A 2015, 119, 735–743.,    J. Phys. Chem. A 2016, 120, 3663–3669.) the behavior of a number of acids – ranging from weak to strong and superstrong acids (superacids) was examined in three solvents (water, acetonitrile, 1,2-dichloroethane) and in the gas phase. Acidities (pKa values) of a number of different acids including the well-known superacids trifluoromethanesulfonic (triflic) acid, bis-trifylimide (Tf2NH), etc as well as the carborane superacids (closo-carborane superacids), but also weaker acids (HCl, acetic acid, phenol) etc are examined in the above mentioned solvents. pKa of superacids are not easy to find in literature. Trends of acidity changes on moving from water to the gas phase depnding on the on the nature of the acidity centre and the molecular structure are analyzed. The acidity orders are different in water, MeCN, DCE and the gas phase. In some cases – notably, the hydrohalogenic acids HCl, HBr and HI – the differences are dramatic. These three acids are among the strongest known acids in water but have modest acidity in the gas phase. In contrast, 9‑C6F5‑Octafluorofluorene, a weak acid in water (approximately of the strength of phenol) is quite strong acid in the gas phase, beating any of the hydrohalogenic acids.

It is demonstrated that the decisive factor for behavior of the acids when transferring between different media is the extent of charge delocalization in the anion and that the recently introduced WAPS parameter in spite of its simplicity enables interpretation of the trends in the majority of cases. The acidity data together with references to specific publications are collected in the Table below.

Table of pKa valuesa of acids in different solvents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acid

H2O

MeCN

DCEb

GP

GP

 

pKa

pKa

pKa

pKa

GA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fluoradene

11.1

23.90

12.5

238

324.9

Para-Toluenesulfonamide, 4-CH3-C6H4-SO2-NH2

10.21

26.87

15.6

245

334.0

9‑C6F5‑Octafluorofluorene

10.1

18.88

9.0c

220

300.6

Phenol

10.00

29.14

19.6

251

342.3

(C6F5)2CHCN

9.5

21.10

10.3

229

312.4

C6F5CH(CN)COOEt

5.89

17.75

7.5c

230

313.5

2,4-Dinitrophenol, 2,4-(NO2)2-C6H3OH

4.09

16.66

4.7

226

308.6

(CF3)3COH

5.40

20.55

9.2

238

324.0

Acetic acid, CH3COOH

4.76

23.51

15.5

250

341.1

(4-CF3-C6F4)2CHCN

4.4

16.13

6.0

221

302.1

4-NO2-C6H4-CH(CN)2

2.3

11.61

0.3

220

299.5

Saccharin

1.80

14.57

5.5

232

315.9

Picric acid, 2,4,6-Trinitrophenol

0.40

11.00

0.0

219

299.0

(4-NO2-C6H4-SO2)2NH

<-1

8.19

-3.9c

213

291.1

(CF3SO2)3C6H2OH

-2.0

4.48

-6.6c

208

284.2

(CF3SO2)2NH

<-2

0.3d

-11.9c

210

286.9f

(C2F5SO2)2NH

<-2

-0.10

-12.4c

208

283.7

Cyanoform, (CN)3CH

-5.1

5.1

-6.4c

216

294.8

Triflicid, trifluoromethanesulfonic acid, CF3SO2OH

-14.7g

0.70

-11.3c

215

292.7g

Hydrochloric acid, hydrogen chloride, HCl

-5.9g

10.30

0.2c

241

328.1g

Hydrobromic acid, hydrogen bromide, HBr

-8.8g

5.5

-4.4c

233

318.3g

Sulfuric acid, H2SO4

-9e

8.7d

-2.2c

221

301.2f

Pentacyanopropene

-9.02

-2.80

-15.3c

196

267.2

Hydroiodic acid, hydrogen iodide, HI

-9.5g

2.8

-7.3c

227

309.3g

CB11H12H, unsubstituted closo-Carborane superacid

-25h

-17h

-25f

195

266.5f

B12H12H2, unsubstituted closo-Dodecaborate superacid

-17h

-9h

-17f

196

267.5f

CB11F12H, perfluoro-closo-Carborane superacid

-47h

-39h

-47f

156

212.8f

B12F12H2, perfluoro-closo-Dodecaborate superacid

-45h

-37h

-45f

156

213.4f

 

 

 

 

 

 

a Values from http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/poc.2946 unless noted otherwise. There are numerous comments and details to these values. Please see the original articles for details and comments. GA values are given in kcal mol-1. pKa values in the gas phase are approximate and have been obtained from the GA values by dividing with 1.364 kcal mol-1. b Ion pair pKa values relative to picric acid in 1,2-dichloroethane. c Values from https://doi.org/10.1039/c7sc01424d. d Values from http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jo101409p. e Value from E. V. Anslyn, D. A. Dougherty, Modern Physical Organic Chemistry, University Science Books, Sausalito, 2006. f Values from http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp506485x. DCE values have been recalculated from absolute to relative, in order to be comparable with the rest. g Values from http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpca.6b02253. h Crude estimates from DCE data by considering that bulk water is by 53 kcal mol-1 more basic than bulk DCE and bulk acetonitrile is by 42 kcal mol-1 more basic than bulk DCE.

 

(This post was initially posted on Feb 2, 2013. On Jan 15, 2017 a number values in the table have been replaced by more reliable values from more recent publications. In addition, some compounds were added to the in order to give a fuller picture. The changes concern only the table. The image has not been changed and should be viewed as illustrative)

_END_

Huian_Liu_in_lab_with_GC_instrumentThe master theses of the EACH programme have usually high practical value. However, this does not prevent them to lead to cutting edge scientific results.

The master thesis of Huian Liu – EACH 2017 graduate from the Lyon study track – titled Gas separation by high pressure gas chromatography using monolithic columns is a good example. At its core the thesis was devoted to investigating the behavior of monolithic GC columns in separation of small hydrocarbons for achieving high efficiency and short analysis time – an important issue in oil refineries.

As an additional value, however, it involved experimenting with a novel detector – vacuum UV absorption detector (VUV detector). VUV detector is an emerging detector in GC, enabling simultaneous detection, identification and quantitation of analytes.

In chromatography there are detectors of two response types – concentration-sensitive and mass-sensitive detectors. The response type is important in planning separation, and especially in quantitation. As a result of Huian’s work it was firmly established that VUV detector is a concentration-sensitive, not mass-sensitive detector. This result was considered scientifically so significant that it was accepted for publication by the number one chromatography journal in the world – Journal of Chromatography A (!): Huian Liu, Guy Raffin, Guillaume Trutt, Jérôme Randon J. Chrom. A, 2017, 1530, 171–175. Congratulations to Huian and the team!

Huian is continuing his studies as a PhD student at UCBL.

 

(Photo: Huian Liu in lab with the GC instrument)

 

Monika_Sandy_Rudolf_MarkoThis June and September, the first intake of students graduated successfully from the EACH programme (See the graduation blogposts at Uppsala, Lyon and Åbo).

Just few months later, 14 out of our 17 fresh graduates have already obtained positions! Some work in the professional/industrial field, some in academic field. Their jobs range from research assistant at a university to project manager at an international corporation. Several have chosen to continue their studies as PhD students. The reflections of some of our graduates on the programme are here:

Marko_Jovanovic

 

Marko, working as project leader in the Industrial Development at Servier (France), writes:
I have spent amazing 2 years in EACH Programme, that represents a perfect balance between studying and travelling. Throughout this period, we had the opportunity to be educated by the experts in the field of Analytical Chemistry. The study track – Industrial Analysis held in France gave me an important insight into the field that I was not so familiar with before I had the opportunity to spend 6 months of the Programme among well-educated and highly-skilled professionals in the company Axel’One, where I was doing my internship. Since Axel’One is a collaborative research platform, I was engaged in several different projects with different companies. This enabled me not only to enrich my knowledge and skills in applied analytical chemistry, but also to significantly expand my professional network. In the end, I was offered a job in France, within a company Servier, as a Project Lead in the Industrial Development.

Monika

 

Monika, working as research assistant at the University of Exeter (United Kingdom), writes:
The Excellence in Analytical Chemistry program was an extremely valuable experience that increased rapidly the course of my career. Taught by highly competent and respected professors it gives the opportunity to gain all the necessary skills in modern analytical techniques. It has been a pleasant, exceptional experience and honor to be a part of EACH!

Monika is simultaneously pursuing doctoral study at Exeter.

 

Sandy

Sandy, now working in the laboratory of the Akademiska sjukhuset hospital in Uppsala, Sweden, writes:
EACH program was so fruitful. It provided me with the skills needed to kick off my career path by providing a wide range of courses delivered by passionate tutors who really care about your success. Moreover, EACH has wonderful activities like a winter school where you can get knowledge and unforgettable social activities. Thanks to everyone who contributes to the success of EACH!

Rudolf

 

 

Rudolf, now a doctoral student at the Örebro University (Sweden), focusing on analytical chemistry of environmental pollutants, adds:
EACH program exposed us to new (study) environments and without doubt provided an invaluable experience. This project offered me a chance to study a specific field in depth. The obtained skills were crucial for pursuing of third cycle studies. All in all, I got more out of the program than I expected in the beginning.

 

 

The success of our graduates is also the success of the EACH programme! This has also been recognised by the European Commission who has decided to extend the funding of Erasmus Mundus scholarships for the EACH programme.

 

Agnes Heering successfully defended her PhD thesis on experimental realization of the unified pH scale

On December 6, 2017 Agnes Heering, an alumna of AMS, the sister programme of EACH, successfully defended her PhD thesis titled Experimental realization and applications of the unified acidity scale.

Her work literally redefines the way the pH of non-aqueous and mixed aqueous solution is understood and measured. The main focus of the experiments was on validating the measurement approach and measuring the unified pH values, i.e. pHabs values, of HPLC mobile phases (eluents). Her work introduces a conceptually new approach of measuring pH of mixed-solvent liquid chromatography (LC) mobile phases and has been published in the Analytical Chemistry journal: Unified pH Values of Liquid Chromatography Mobile Phases. Anal. Chem. 2015, 87, 2623–2630.

Mobile phase pH is very important in LC, but its correct measurement is not straightforward and all commonly used approaches have deficiencies. The new and fundamentally correct approach developed by Agnes enables direct comparison of acidities of solutions made in different solvents, based on chemical potential of the proton in the solutions.

The work by Agnes represents the first experimental realization of the pHabs concept using differential potentiometric measurement for comparison of the chemical potentials of the proton in different solutions (connected by a salt bridge), together with earlier published reference points for obtaining the pHabs values (referenced to the gas phase) or pHabsH2O values (referenced to the aqueous solution). The liquid junction potentials were estimated in the framework of Izutsu’s three-component method.
She determined the pHabs values for a number of common LC and LC-MS mobile phases and formed a self-consistent pHabs scale. This scale enables for the first time direct comparison of acidities of any LC mobile phases: with different organic additives, different buffer components etc. Agnes has developed a possible experimental protocol of putting this new approach into chromatographic practice and has tested its applicability. She has demonstrated that the ionization behavior of bases (cationic acids) in the mobile phases can be better predicted by using the pHabsH2O values and aqueous pKa values than by using the alternative means of expressing mobile phase acidity. Description of the ionization behavior of acids on the basis of pHabsH2O values is possible if the change of their pKa values with solvent composition change is taken into account.

The defence was successful in every respect. Agnes presented very well, answered questions confidently and convincingly demonstrated to everyone that she is really on top of this whole matter.

(Photo: Agnes Heering and prof. Peeter Burk, the chairman of the defence committee, during defence)

 

Todd_Pagano_working_with_EACH_students_in_labDuring Nov 20 to Dec 1 we had the pleasure to host visiting scholar, prof. Todd Pagano from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), USA. He conducted a two week-intensive course Principles and applications of fluorescence spectroscopy.

In this course, students reviewed the principles of fluorescence spectroscopy, were introduced to the impact of photophysical phenomena on fluorescence data, and discussed new directions of fluorescence in analytical chemistry. Techniques in multidimensional fluorescence spectroscopy with chemometric analysis were highlighted, especially in the context of novel applications in environmental and related fields.

Todd_Pagano_Lecturing_in_EACH_programmeThe course consisted of lectures, seminars, tutorial sessions and a lab practical. The latter was specifically set up for this course by prof. Pagano and was very much appreciated by students. The analysis that was carried out was determination of caffeine in beverages by fluorescence quenching.

Altogether 23 students (out of them 13 EACH students) participated in the course and their feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

Prof. Pagano is a passionate educator. He was the director of the Laboratory Science Technology program at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which is a unique science programme, specifically designed for deaf students. He was named “2012 U.S. Professor of the Year” by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Todd_Pagano_setting_up_lab_practical_in_EACH_programmeBesides the EACH Erasmus Mundus JMD, prof. Pagano’s visit was funded as part of a project by the US Fulbright Specialist programme.

(Images: top left, prof. Pagano working with students in the lab; right: prof. Pagano lecturing; bottom left: prof. Pagano setting up lab practical)

 

LC_MS_Validation_MOOC_Participants_Countries_2017On Tuesday, November 28, 2017 the web course LC-MS Method Validation was launched for the second time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). There are 423 registered participants (by more than 100 more than in 2016) from 71 countries, ranging from Bolivia to Indonesia and from Sweden to Tanzania. Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using LC-MS as technique. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The LC-MS validation course is delivered by a team of 8 teachers, each with their own specific area of competence. This way it is expected to offer the best possible knowledge in all the different subtopics of analytical method validation.

The full set of course materials is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to take all tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu.

It is planned to run this course as MOOC again in autumn 2018.

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

EACH_Erasmus_Mundus_JMDWe are glad to announce that the 2018 admission is officially open to the 4th intake of the Excellence in Analytical Chemistry (EACH) Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree programme!

This international two-year joint master degree programme educates specialists in analytical chemistry well qualified to work in industry (food, pharmaceutical, materials, energy, etc), chemical analysis laboratories (environment, food, health, etc) and research (developing new analysis devices or new analysis methods) worldwide. EACH provides knowledge and practical skills in both fundamental and applied aspects of modern analytical chemistry. Practical internship placement in industry or laboratories is an important part of the training.

The programme is suitable both for students who have finished their bachelor’s studies and want to continue in master’s studies, as well as for working analytical chemistry practitioners wishing to spend couple of years to bring their knowledge and skills to a new level.

The programme features generous scholarships as detailed in the Scholarships and tuition fees page.

The programme is taught by four universities: University of Tartu (UT, coordinator), Estonia; Uppsala University (UU), Sweden; University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL), France; and Åbo Akademi University (AAU), Finland. The language of instruction is English, but students will also learn to communicate in one of the languages of the countries involved.

The online application form, admission requirements, deadlines, list of necessary documents, instructions/explanations, as well as contact data for questions are available from the EACH Admission information page.

We wish you all the success in applying!

 

 

JMS_v52_i10_CoverThe Analytical chemistry group at UT recently received a very pleasant and well-deserved recognition: the paper MALDI‐FT‐ICR‐MS for Archaeological Lipid Residue Analysis J. Mass Spectrom. 2017, 52, 689-700 led by research fellow Dr Ester Oras was selected by the editorial board as the cover article for the Oct 2017 issue of the Journal of Mass Spectrometry!

Ester_OrasEster’s research demonstrates that tiny (and to a large extent degraded) food remains on ceramic potsherds, dating back many hundreds of years, can still tell interesting stories about the food practices of our ancestors. The key to these results is clever usage of high-resolution FT-MS with MALDI ion source.

The developed methodology is expected to lay foundation to further studies of ancient food practices in Europe.

 

(Photo on the left: cover of the Oct 2017 issue of the Journal of Mass Spectrometry; photo on the right: Ester Oras)

 

Validation_of_LC-MS_Methods_Online_CourseWe are glad to announce that the second edition of the online course LC-MS Method Validation is open for registration at the address https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/ !

The course will be offered as a Massive Open On-line Course (MOOC) during Nov 28, 2017 – Feb 09, 2018. This is the second edition of this MOOC and, differently from the last year’s edition, the number of participants is not limited this time. So, whoever is interested is welcome to register!

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry as technique, mostly (but not limited to) using the electrospray (ESI) ion source. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The course is largely based on the recently published two-part tutorial review:

The course contains lectures, practical exercises and numerous tests for self-testing. In spite of being introductory, the course intends to offer sufficient knowledge and skills for carrying out validation for most of the common LC-MS analyses in routine laboratory environment. The real-life analysis situations for which there are either examples or self-tests are for example pesticide analyses in fruits and vegetables, perfluororalkyl acids in water, antibiotics in blood serum, glyphosate and AMPA in surface water, etc. It is important to stress, that for successful validation experience (both in analytical chemistry as such and also specifically in validation) is crucial and this can be acquired only through practice.

The course is free of charge. Receiving digital certificate (in the case of successful completion) is also free of charge. Printed certificate (to be sent by post) is available for a fee of 60 EUR. Registration is possible until the start of the course. The course material is available from the above address all the time and can be used via web by anyone who wishes to improve the knowledge and skills in analytical method validation (especially when using LC-ESI-MS).

 

DSC_0294Mass spectrometry is currently probably the No 1 technique for determining trace-level components in complex (especially biomed-related) mixtures. The key issues in such applications are sample preparation, sample introduction to MS and ionization of components of interest (analytes). Big efforts are continually made to improve any of them.

In his recent development – Sponge sprayMax Hecht, an AMS graduate, now PhD student at UT attempts improvements in all of the above issues. The elegant approach proposed by Max utilizes a volumetric sampling device – a hydrophilic sponge, which after absorbing a predetermined amount of sample (e.g. blood or urine), can be directly used for sample introduction to MS and ionizing the analytes.

The seriousness of the work has been demonstrated by the fact that it was accepted for publication by Analytical Chemistry, the top journal in the field. The published article Sponge Spray – Reaching New Dimensions of Direct Sampling and Analysis by MS is now available from the journal website.

Further developments of this approach may lead e.g. to fast medical diagnosis MS methods that, contrary to the current situation with MS in medicine, could be applied as “bed-side” diagnosis tools in hospitals.

(Photo: Max Hecht working with the sponge spray ion source)

 

Ime_Dimitar_and_JohanOn September 11, 2017 the third master thesis defence session in the history of the EACH programme took place at Åbo Akademi University (AAU)! Ime Bassey Isua-Ikoh and Dimitar Jovanovski successfully defended their master’s theses.

Congratulations to both of you!

(Photo on the left (left to right): Ime, Johan Bobacka, Dimitar)

Although all EACH thesis defences have members from both universities where students studied as well as from associated partners, this defence was nevertheless special by the highly international jury – Johan Bobacka (AAU), Manuel Miró (University of Balearic islands, Spain), Teem Näykki (SYKE; Finland) and Ivari Kaljurand (UT; Estonia). 75% of the members (all except Johan) participated via Skype. The connection worked well (occasionally some members disconnected, but they managed to quickly reconnect again) and serious discussions were held with both students. It is important to add that both Ime and Dimitar have already secured jobs/positions for them.

Ime_Discussing_with_the_jury_members(Photo on the right: Ime discussing with the Jury members)

Together with the defences in Uppsala and recent defence in Lyon this defence in Åbo concludes the theses of the first intake of EACH students. All EACH students of the first intake have now successfully defended their theses!

 

Introductory_Meeting_with_EACH_and_AMS_Students_2017This week was the first study week for the new students of Applied Measurement Science and EACH Erasmus Mundus Joint Programme. Altogether 23 students started their studies. The countries of origin of the students are Vietnam, Philippines, Hungary, Serbia, Nepal, China, Hong Kong, Georgia, Romania, Mexico, Indonesia, Venezuela, Pakistan and Turkey. During the introductory meeting an overview of the programme was given (see the slides) and a large number of questions were asked and answered, accompanied by tea/coffee and cake.

We wish successful studies to all new students!

 

EACH_Defence_Lyon_2017On September 7, 2017 the second master thesis defence session in the history of the EACH programme took place at University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL)! Aleksandra Lelevic, Gaurav Bhardwaj, Huian Liu, Marko Jovanovic, Oleksandra Burakhovska, Olivier Etebe Nonga, Rudolf Aro and Tetiana Melnyk successfully defended their master’s theses.

Congratulations to all of you!

The topics of the theses embraced a wide area of modern analytical problems (top-down LC-MS proteomics, industrial process control with gas chromatography and Raman spectrometry, accurate moisture measurement in solids, FT-IR analysis of plasticizers in concrete, etc). The majority of the theses were performed in collaboration with industry. This choice of topics and the long-standing industrial collaboration is rooted in the world-famous industrial analysis and control study direction at UCBL led by prof. Jérôme Randon.

At a small cosy drink after the defence students shared their memories of the study period in Lyon. The students were generally very happy about their study track. They praised especially the long and serious placement in industry, which taught them a wide range of useful skills and enabled establishing many contacts. Students also spoke about their future plans. Several of them have already secured jobs/positions.

On photo from the left: Marko, Jerome (academic coordinator at Lyon), Oleksandra, Olivier, Huian, Aleksandra, Rudolf, Gaurav (Tetiana unfortunately had to leave earlier).

 

Anu_Teearu_Kristjan_HaavThis is the range of topics addressed on Aug 16, 2017 as PhD dissertations addressing these topics were defended at UT Institute of Chemistry.

 

Anu_Teearu_presenting_her_PhD_ThesisAnu Teearu (left on the photo) in her thesis titled Development of MALDI-FT-ICR-MS methodology for the analysis of resinous materials addressed the analysis of resinous materials in order to obtain the maximum amount of high-accuracy data from these complex materials. Several important methodological developments (novel calibrants, novel matrix materials, etc) were introduced to MALDI-FT-ICR-MS and its capabilities were assessed during the analysis of three case study samples originating from different types of cultural heritage objects.

 

Kristja_Haav_presenting_his_PhD_ThesisThe central aim of the thesis of Kristjan Haav Quantitative relative equilibrium constants measurements in supramolecular chemistry was development of highly accurate binding constant measurement methods. The key development was measuring relative equilibrium constants instead of absolute ones, which enables eliminating or strongly reducing the influence on several error sources. Kristjan tested the applicability of this approach on two instrumental techniques: UV-vis spectrophotometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry (NMR). Comparison of the two – completely independent – techniques showed good agreement between the obtained results and thus supports the reliability of both of them.

Kristjan Haav is an alumnus of the Applied Measurement Science programme – the predecessor programme of EACH.