First joint PhD degree Organic Chemistry VU Amsterdam and University of Antwerp

On December 12th 2017 joint PhD student Pieter Mampuys successfully defended his thesis “Multicomponent Chemistry with Thiosulfonate and Isocyanide Building Blocks: Challenges and Opportunities for Green Chemistry”.

The promotion took place in the framework of a Joint PhD degree programme between the University of Antwerp and VU Amsterdam. Last year, a general agreement between both institutions was achieved, making joint degree PhD graduations possible. Both institutions work more closely together within AURORA (


Pieter Mampuys developed novel one-pot manufacturing processes to access active pharmaceutical ingredients in a more sustainable fashion. The research, led by Prof. Bert Maes and Prof. Romano Orru, was performed in the Organic Chemistry laboratories of both Universities.
Both labs work together for a number of years now and discovered interesting so-called multicomponent reactions combining simple building blocks to synthesise more complex bioactive molecules in a step- and atom efficient way. Especially their work on the palladium catalyzed isocyanide insertion reactions received much attention. This is the first PhD within this framework, but for the coming years several joint PhD graduations are foreseen.