In this post we will introduce the colleagues within Metrohm DropSens and Dutch Customs that are most directly involved in the BorderSens project.
Hi everyone! I’m Begoña González García, Applications Lab Manager in Metrohm Dropsens company from 2014 until now. I have obtained my PhD in Chemistry in the University of Oviedo in 1999. Along my career I was working in different research projects, all of them focused in the electrochemical field, so I have a vast experience in this area, mainly in the developing of enzyme, immuno and genosensors designed on nanostructured thick-film transducers. Before joining the company, I was working as Assistant Professor for five years at the University of Oviedo and was a co-worker in the Immunoelectroanalysis Research Group of the same university. I has published until now 77 research articles in the knowledge area of analytical chemistry and I have 10 patents.
Since September 2019, I have joined the BorderSens project. One of our tasks in the project is the design of the measure instrument and the disposable low-cost device which will integrate all the sensors developed by the project partners for in-field drug detection. My role in the project is mainly focused in the design and optimization of these disposable low cost sensor platforms, according with the needs of the other researchers of the project partners. I think that the interactions with these researchers in the framework of this project will provide me new knowledge and other vision on how to address the challenges in this project.
Hello everyone! Let me introduce myself. I’m Daniel Izquierdo Bote and I currently work in Metrohm DropSens as an application specialist focus on the research of BorderSens project.
To go a bit deeper in my career, I have graduated in Chemistry in Burgos University, where I also obtained MSc and PhD degrees in advance chemistry in the Instrumental Analysis group which is focus on new analytical multiresponse techniques and the development of novel measurement instruments. Subsequently, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher in a group specialized in the development of biosensor based on screen-printed electrodes. Finally, all this background helped me to join Metrohm DropSens.
One of our tasks in the project is the design of the measured instrument and the disposable low-cost device which will integrate all the sensors developed by the project partners for in-field drug detection. Our vast experience in the fabrication and integration of electrochemical transductors and biosensors makes possible that we are involved in this project working with great researchers and together, we can expand our knowledge for the development of a device that can achieve a safer world.
The Customs Administration of the Netherlands is a law enforcement agency (LEA) responsible, among others, for the surveillance on goods crossing in and out of the EU borders. The agency is responsible for customs, excise, and several other non-fiscal law enforcement tasks. It operates in major European import and export flows as those through the harbour of Rotterdam and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Dutch Customs makes extensive use of bulk and trace detection technology to support its work.
The Dutch Customs Laboratory (DCL) was founded in 1880 and nowadays has more than 80 employees. DCL traditionally only analized samples for excise and fiscal purposes. With the introduction of the non-fiscal tasks in the mid-seventies of XX century, the analysis of drugs and their precursors started. In 2009 the cluster Living Lab, currently with 5 employees, was formed. The Living Lab studies detection technologies and the use of detection devices by customs. The Living Lab has the possibility to carry out these studies both in the laboratory and in the field, in a customs working environment. The latter is performed to account for the influence of the working environment on the use of detection technology. The Living Lab is able to set-up, carry out and evaluate tests using e.g. large and small scale goods, complex packaging, significant background and multiple threat materials (drugs, precursors to drugs, precursos to explosives…). The ability of technologies to deal with these factors is regarded to be of paramount importance in the acceptance of the equipment by the officers.
The key persons from Dutch Customs involved in BorderSens are:
Marcel Heerschop (senior scientist) graduated as a bachelor in 1985. After his graduation, he started working at an environmental laboratory for 12 years. In 1997 he started working at DCL. After being the responsible chemist for several product groups (meat, inorganic compounds and products thereof), in 2010 he started working as a chemist in the Living Lab. Later, he took up the position of senior chemist in this cluster. For the BorderSens project he coordinates, together with Stefan Bijvoets, the work DCL is assigned to.
Stefan Bijvoets (scientist) graduated as an organic chemist (MSc) from Leiden University in 2014. After that, he worked as a researcher for TNO in the CBRN protection group. Since 2017, he works for DCL, in particular, on the analysis and classification or organic molecules, and in 2020 he also joined the Living Lab.
Sharon Sap (scientist) has a bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science and graduated as a Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry at the VU & UvA in Amsterdam in February 2020. Since May 2021 she is working at DCL in the cluster Living Lab. During the first year, she learned a lot from her experienced colleagues about handheld devices, and X-ray and gas detection. Her main activities include testing and working with new handheld devices, assisting customs employees in the field, and performing experiments for detection of gasses. In the BorderSens project she analyzes the samples as end-user.
Danny Hommersom (senior technician) started to work in DCL in 1992. During the first period he performed analysis in the food department, but as soon as the laboratory started to do analysis outside its walls, he was involved. His experience and hands-on mentality make him one of the key persons of the Living Lab team and the person that participates in all the projects and experiments in which it is involved.
Micha Slegt, PhD (senior scientist) graduated as a bachelor in 1996. After working as research analyst at DSM Research and AKZONOBEL, he started his PhD studies in 2001 in the field of organic photochemistry at Leiden University. Upon receiving his PhD in 2005 he started to work at DCL as the responsible chemist for the product group plastic, rubber, paper, paint and wax. Since 2008 he is the senior chemist responsible for the Living Lab. He is a member of the innovation coordination group, the European Customs detection technology project group, the project leader for the internal innovation project on automated X-ray image interpretation and provides advice on detection/seleciton technology and its performance both in the physical world and the world of data. He leads the contributions of Dutch Customs to several FP and Horizon European Research and Innovation projects. For the BorderSens project, Micha acts as a knowledge support for his colleagues on the foreground.
Ger Koomen (senior advisor innovation) graduated as an analytical chemist (MSc) from the University of Amsterdam in 1985. Until 1993 he worked as a research chemist in the Academic Medical Centre Amsterdam in the field of peritoneal dialyses. Since 1993 he works for customs, first as an specialist in the field of food and food products classification, and from 2003 to 2020 as manager of DCL. Within the BorderSens project, he is a member of the Security Advisory Board that reviews all papers of the project before publication to prevent unintended distribution of secure/sensitive information outside the project group. Since 2020 he is employed as a senior advisor innovation and his focus is on implementing new technologies into the customs. Together with Marcel Heerschop, he is a member of the scan and detection group within Dutch Customs. This group provides advice on which new devices can be implemented within Dutch Customs and their hope and trust is that they will be in the position to recommend the implementation of the BorderSens device within their organization.