People

The results of the AFP research group do not come on their own. We have a young and creative team of researchers. Get to know those great minds on this page!

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Group leader

Prof. dr. Louis Pitet

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Location

Agoralaan Gebouw F, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium

Function
Assistant Professor

Louis was born in Casper, Wyoming, in the United States of America. He received his bachelor's degree in Chemistry at the Colorado School of Mines in 2005 where he worked with Prof. Daniel Knauss on highly branched polylactide architectures. Louis was then supervised by Marc Hillmyer at the University of Minnesota, earning his PhD in 2011 related to functional block polymer development employing ring-opening metathesis polymerizations. Afterward, Louis obtained a post-doctoral fellowship working with Bert Meijer at the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS) at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, applying dynamic bonding strategies to block polymer synthesis and self-assembly. After a short time working at DSM, Louis began his independent career in 2018 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and as a member of the Institute for Materials Research (imo-imomec) at Hasselt University in Belgium.

Post-Docs

Burcu Alkan

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Location

Agoralaan, Gebouw D, Blok F

Function

Post-doc

Burcu was born in Istanbul, Türkiye and received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 2015 at Istanbul University. She completed her master’s degree in Complex Macromolecular Structure Center at Istanbul Technical University (ITU) under the supervision of Prof. Gürkan Hızal. Afterwards, she obtained her PhD within the same group at ITU, where her research is supervised by Prof. Hakan Durmaz and co-supervised Prof. Gökhan Temel. During her PhD, she specialized in straightforward and novel synthetic strategies for the preparation of well-defined polymeric structures but her main topic was developing new approaches for the synthesis of single-chain polymeric nanoparticles. In 2024, she joined the Pitet group to pursue post-doctoral research on the upcycling of post-consumer PET into performance plastic materials. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and close friends, and traveling.

PhD Students

Mariana Arreguin Campos

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Location

Agoralaan Gebouw F, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium

Function
PhD Student

Mariana received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering of materials from the Autonomous University of Querétaro in Mexico. Her interest in materials science took her to the Netherlands, where she pursued a master’s degree in biobased materials at Maastricht University. During her time in Maastricht, Mariana joined the MERLN institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative medicine, where she worked on hydrogel vascular structures for tissue engineering as a part of her master’s thesis. Currently, Mariana is pursuing a joint PhD between Hasselt University and Maastricht University, where she is working on developing tough hydrogels for their broader application as structural materials. Her research is supervised by Dr. Louis Pitet and co-supervised by Dr. Matthew Baker. With her expertise in hydrogels and polymer science, Mariana aspires to develop materials with unique properties that can push further the field of tissue engineering. During her free time, Mariana enjoys watercolor painting, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Mahsa Ebrahimi

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Location

Agoralaan Gebouw F, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium

Function
PhD Student

Mahsa was born and grew up in Tehran, Iran where she earned her bachelor's degree from Iran University of Science and Technology in materials engineering. She then worked on analyzing the microstructural evolution and mechanical properties of Al-Mg2Si in situ composites at Tehran University as a part of her Master's thesis. Mahsa joined the Pitet group in October of 2020 to work on tough double network hydrogels for tissue engineering as her PhD project, where she is co-supervised by Matthew Baker (Maastricht University). She enjoys hiking and photography as hobbies.

Sander Driesen

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Location

Agoralaan Gebouw F, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium

Function
PhD Student

Sander grew up in Maasmechelen (Limburg, Belgium) and received his bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences at Hasselt University in 2019. He then worked on stimuli-responsive biopolymer nanocarriers as a part of his master's thesis. After obtaining his master's degree in Biomedical Sciences (Bioelectronics & Nanotechnology) at Hasselt University in 2021, Sander joined the Pitet group to work on combining hybrid hydrogels with peptide conjugation for targeted cartilage tissue engineering, where he is co-supervised by Geert-Jan Graulus. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, cooking and gaming with his friends.

Milan Den Haese

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Location

Agoralaan Gebouw F, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium

Function
Masters Student

Milan was born in Belgium, but grew up in Abu Dhabi. He obtained his bachelor in biology in 2019 at UHasselt. Following this, he then transitioned to a biomedical sciences to complete a masters degree in bio electronics and nanotechnology, focussing on the synthesis of biopolymer-nanocapsules for targeted drug delivery for his thesis. Within the Pitet group, he is currently focussing on the topic of continuous flow polymerization. In his spare time, Milan loves to cycle and swim. He is also an avid board game collector, and loves having a game-night with his friends.

Arthur Helsen

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Location

Gebouw D, Blok F2.13

3590 Diepenbeek

Function
PhD Student

Arthur was born and raised in Westerlo (Antwerp, Belgium) and received his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at Hasselt University in 2019. For his master’s thesis he joined the Pitet group to work on tough injectable hydrogels for tissue engineering. He obtained his master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences (Bioelectronics & nanotechnology) at Hasselt University, and is currently pursuing a joint-PhD project at the AFP group (UHasselt) and Biomatt group (Maastricht University). Here, he focusses on the development of dynamic hydrogels for cartilage tissue engineering and 3D printing. In his spare time, Arthur likes to go out for a drink with friends, play video games, and never says no to a game of chess.

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Location

Gebouw D, Block F2.13

3590 Diepenbeek

Function

PhD Student

Jeffy was born in Ernakulam in Kerala, India. She earned her bachelor’s in Chemistry from Mahatma Gandhi University and Master’s in Polymer Science from Central Institute of Petrochemical Engineering and Technology (CIPET), Kochi.   As part of her Master’s thesis, she worked on the fabrication of Polymer nanocomposite membranes for hydrogen separation at Malaviya National Institute of Technology in Jaipur. She then moved to Hyderabad, at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), as a Project Associate where her goal was to synthesize Electrospun nanoporous films for water purification such as heavy metal removal and antibacterial treatment. She joined the Pitet group in 2023 where her research focus is on continuous flow polymerization. She is excited to be working on this cutting-edge technology, and she is confident that it will have a profound effect on developing more sustainable materials. Besides her scientific interests, she likes to paint, go out with friends and a beach day never fails to be her perfect weekend.

Ulrike Arickx

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Location

Agoralaan Gebouw D, Blok F

3590 Diepenbeek

Function

PhD Student

Ulrike grew up in Herselt (Antwerpen, Belgium) and received her bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences in 2021 at Hasselt University. Now, Ulrike is pursuing a master's degree in Bioelectronics and Nanotechnology and will complete her master's thesis in the Pitet group. Under the supervision of Mahsa Ebrahimi, she will focus on 3D printing mechanically robust hydrogels for applications within the field of tissue engineering. During her leisure time, Ulrike enjoys playing the guitar, hiking with her Border Collie, and spending time with friends.

Victoria Safin

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Location

Agoralaan, Gebouw D, Blok F

Function

PhD Student

Victoria grew up in Tongeren (Limburg, Belgium) and first joined the Pitet group to work on the upcycling of rPET waste into thermoplastic copolyester elastomers for her bachelor’s thesis in Chemistry. It was through this project that she discovered her passion for sustainable polymer chemistry. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Hasselt in 2021, she explored physical polymer chemistry by researching crystallization and melting of polyethylenes with the use of small-angle laser light scattering for her master's thesis. After receiving her master's degree in Chemistry at the KU Leuven in 2023, she joined the Pitet group to pursue a PhD on the development of next generation circular thermoplastic elastomers in a collaboration with B4Plastics. In her free time, she enjoys walking in nature, painting and crafting, and spending time with family and friends.

Abhijith Krishna

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Location

Agoralaan Gebouw D, Blok F

3590 Diepenbeek

Function

PhD Student

Abhijith, hailing from the picturesque town of Alleppey, India, got his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Kerala University in India. He then joined for his Masters in Polymer Science from CUSAT, India and worked on Bio-based self-healing hydrogels as part of his master thesis from CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai, India and graduated in 2021. He also worked as a Project Associate on projects related to vitrimers and carbon fiber composites in CSIR- National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, India. In November 2023, Abhijith joined the Pitet group, focusing on bio-based feedstock for recycled polyester and reconfigurable networks (Vitrimers). In his spare time, Abhijith likes to spend time with friends, watch anime, and go for long drives.

Masters Students

Ulrike Arickx

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Location

Agoralaan Gebouw F, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium

Function
Masters Student

Ulrike grew up in Herselt (Antwerpen, Belgium) and received her bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences in 2021 at Hasselt University. Now, Ulrike is pursuing a master's degree in Bioelectronics and Nanotechnology and will complete her master's thesis in the Pitet group. Under the supervision of Mahsa Ebrahimi, she will focus on 3D printing mechanically robust hydrogels for applications within the field of tissue engineering. During her leisure time, Ulrike enjoys playing the guitar, hiking with her Border Collie, and spending time with friends.

Alumni

Postdoc Alumni

Dr. Bryn Monnery - 2020–2021
Dr. Apostolos Karanastasis - 2020–2021
Dr. Greg Quintens - 2022–2023
Dr. Amruta Kulkarni - 2022–2023

PhD Alumni

Dr. Sofie Houben - 2019–2023

Masters Alumni

Axelle Mpinganzima: 2020–2021

Arthur Helsen: 2020–2021

Ulrike Arickx: 2022–2023

Valentino Atella: 2022–2023