Pauline Bianchi receives the 2023 prize from the Aloïse-Benoît Coomans Foundation
Pauline Bianchi, an F.R.S.-FNRS researcher at the Center for Integrated Technology and Organic Synthesis (CiTOS) at the University of Liège, is the winner of the 2023 Prize of the Aloïse-Benoït Coomans Foundation. The prize is awarded for her contribution to the field of organic chemistry. CiTOS, set up just ten years ago by Professor Jean-Christophe Monbaliu, is revisiting organic chemistry by combining new technologies and computational approaches.
auline Bianchi's PhD thesis topic aims to develop a pragmatic answer to a current question: Can we predict and guide the optimization of a reaction to reduce its time-consuming and waste-generating nature without prior experimental data? This question mirrors an increasingly challenging environmental and safety context for chemists. Despite the emergence of safer and more sustainable process technologies for producing organic compounds, organic chemistry still bears a significant environmental footprint and inherent safety burden.
Fundamental research in organic chemistry relies primarily on developing innovation for new methods, reagents, and unprecedented conditions to produce a wide range of high-value-added products, such as active pharmaceutical ingredients. This objective is achieved through an iterative, time-consuming optimization process that consumes primary resources and generates problematic waste. By combining the most fundamental aspects of reactivity in organic chemistry with the most applied aspects of microfluidic technology, the use of quantum chemistry coupled with artificial intelligence allows for the prediction of operational conditions (temperature, pressure, reaction time), thereby accelerating optimization while reducing the experimental workload. "In this way, the amount of waste generated and the exposure to toxic or highly active substances are minimized, and resources are preserved," explains Pauline Bianchi.
In addition to the Aloïse-Benoît COOMANS Foundation award, the initial results of her thesis have been published and have demonstrated the applicability of this new approach for studying physical organic chemistry reactivity for the production of pharmaceutical active ingredients and the neutralization of chemical warfare agents. This research constitutes a robust foundation for a project led by Professor Jean-Christophe Monbaliu ("Intelligent Flow Systems for Advanced Chemical Manufacturing") and funded by the WEL Research Institute.
Aloïse -Benoît Coomans Foundation
The University of Liège Foundation manages the Aloïse and Benoît Coomans Foundation prizes. The income from the Foundation's capital is used to award a prize to finance a research project in organic chemistry.