Category Archives: Nenad Stojanovic

ANALYTICA 2018 – Impressions and Highlights


Together with four of my colleagues from the University of Duisburg-Essen, I’ve spent the last week at the fair in Munich. The reason for traveling 600 km to the south of Germany was to participate in Analytica 2018 – a trade fair and conference with the overall theme of analytical chemistry. Overwhelmed by both the academic and commercial side of this event, I decided to update my blog and introduce the readers to some novel developments in the world of analytical chemistry.
A fair has been organized every two years in Munich since the late ‘60s, with the aim of helping vendors and developers of analytical instruments get in touch with potential users of their measuring equipment. This year more than 1100 exhibitors from almost 50 countries presented their products to more than 35000 visitors at the fair. Exhibitors and visitors came from many different backgrounds – in my three days at the fair I talked with analytical chemists, mechanical engineers, material scientists, IT professionals, even medical doctors. Regardless of the differences in their backgrounds, I was very interested in their needs and expectations when it comes to chemical analysis. Aside from the normal expectations that an analytical chemist like myself hears every day (low detections limits, high precision etc), I was often told that full automatization of the analysis and real-time artificial decision-making during the production process was needed. These ideas require two main ingredients. First is a sample preparation unit capable of performing every lab task one can think of; from reading what’s written on the vial, to changing the syringe or the liner of the gas chromatogram. Second is a computer, or a network of computers capable of deep learning that would analyse gigabytes of analytical data at a time, and combine them together to describe or even control a production process. Seeing how high the bar was set, I was surprised to see that many vendors were successfully coping with these requests set by their customers.

Cutting-edge development by industry shown at the fair was complemented successfully at the conference. Sessions were organized on many analytical ‘hot topics’, from microplastics, toxicology, biosensors all the way to deep learning and data-mining. One of the sessions that I enjoyed the most was the one named “Analytical Challenges from Implementing Consumer-Oriented Legislation”, in which the chairman and a lot of speakers were involved in the Joint Research Centre (European Commission). Lectures given during this session helped me realize how big a gap there is between research analytical laboratories and legislative bodies, and how desperately we, the citizens of EU, need more bridges over these gaps.

I gave my contribution to the overall scientific content of the conference by presenting my poster. Although the poster session itself was at a somewhat isolated location, not really visited by that many people, I still managed to grab the attention of a couple of visitors. I tried to explain to them not only what is it that I do, but also, how my work fits within the scope of the REMEDIATE project, and what benefits for the overall populations will come as a result.

Often after visiting conferences I wonder how much of the presented work is actually applicable in real-life situations. From the academic point of view, one develops the method, often in a very non-elegant and user-unfriendly manner, as long as it allows for the determination of previously uncharacterized events. Industry on the other hand is very focused on creating an intuitive environment for a wide variety of end-users, but often at the expense of performance.
As somebody who is currently working in academia, but would like to switch to the industry soon, Analytica 2018 was one of the rare opportunities to get right in the middle of yin and yang, between academic and commercial sides of analytical chemistry. It brought some new ides for the future projects, helped see the general trend in which the analytical chemistry is going, pointed out the current weaknesses and revealed the fields in which work is needed. Certainly, for a student of a final year of a PhD, it was a very valuable experience, that I would like to repeat again. See you in Munich, at Analytica in 2020.

EUROANALYSIS 2017 – the noob’s perspective

A great post from Nenad, the Remediate ESR based at UDE. He travelled to Sweden to attend a conference.
nenad poster

I spent the last few days of August in Stockholm, Sweden, attending the 19th EUROANALYSIS conference, one of the biggest analytical chemistry conferences organized in Europe. This was the first conference I have attended for REMEDIATE and therefore I feel the need to share my experiences with the readers of the REMEDIATE blog.

Organizers and participants

The conference was organized by the Analytical Chemistry Division of the Swedish Chemical Society, in collaboration with the European Chemical Sciences’ Division of Analytical Chemistry and the Swedish Pharmaceutical Society, and despite having “EURO” in its name, it gathered chemists from all around the globe, from Brazil to Japan, from South Africa to Canada. Around 500 of them, to be precise.


Aside from the afternoon opening ceremony, Monday was the day for short courses that were taking place from the early morning on. There were many topics to choose from, but one was particularly interesting to me – Solid phase micro-extraction (SPME), offered by Janusz Pawliszyn from the University of Waterloo, inventor of said technique. Because of my own research I am well accounted with SPME, and following the course wasn’t difficult at all, although in 3 hours we covered 30 years of the SPME’s past and at least 10 years of its future. Inspired by the prospects to which I was introduced, full of ideas for improving my own work, I left the lecture room and went to the opening ceremony and first plenary lecture. There, Klaus Unger from Johannes Gutenberg University talked about the history of separation sciences, all the way from their infancy to present day capabilities and challenges. Afterwards, we had the time to display our posters, register, briefly check out who the other participants were, and briefly meet some of them.
On Tuesday, Luigi Mondello from University of Messina compared different multidimensional approaches in coupling chromatography to mass spectrometry, with anemphasis on marine organism lipidomics. Afterwards, Marja-Liisa Riekkola from University of Helsinki presented the work of her group; studying the formation of aerosol particles in the air. Both presentations emphasized the importance of pushing the limits of instrumental analysis even further to unravel the mechanisms behind complicated processes that are happening in the environment.
After the plenary lectures, we had some time to check-out the first group of posters and make contacts with other researchers.
I ended the day by attending session in separation sciences, where lecturers presented their work on nano-LC, tips for improving UPLC conditions, open-tubular LC columns, scaling down and transferring methods to different instruments without the loss of separation efficiency.
The most interesting day for me, however, was Wednesday. It started with a plenary lecture by Stefan Hell from Göttingen’s Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. Although my background in imaging and microscopy is very thin, listening to a Nobel Prize laureate talking about STED microscopy turned out to be much easier than I expected. The presenter covered, in very clear, simple and effective way even the most difficult and technical details of his work, ending his talk with some fresh results and future challenges that his laboratory will tackle. Probably the most interesting lecture throughout the conference followed, and it was given by Mario Thevis from the German Sport University Cologne. He concentrated on the analytical work done by his laboratory in order to test professional athletes during major sport events all around the world, such as the Olympic Games. In an extremely charming and engaging way, he demonstrated how far the athletes and their medical advisors are ready to go, just to get the extra boost in strength and stamina, and how creative chemists must be in order to detect those who are “stacking the deck” by abusing forbidden substances. The day continued by having poster sessions of the second group of posters and lecture sessions in imaging, environmental analysis, and electrochemistry.

My 15 minutes of fame

Thursday was my day. Finally, the third group of posters, the group in which my poster was located, was to be visited by attendees. Immediately after arriving to my poster I realized I have made a huge rookie mistake – not enough business cards and no A4 printouts of my poster. Despite that, determined to leave the best possible impression on my audience I explained to everybody who was willing to listen the importance of what I do, how useful it can be, how tough are the challenges that I have to overcome and how everything fits into a big picture called REMEDIATE. Judging by the number of people I talked to and the interest they demonstrated for individual elements of my work, I’d say I did a pretty decent job for a noob. I couldn’t offer a printout, nor a business card, but I think my enthusiasm and interesting story were enough to buy their attention for 10 to 15 minutes. Contacts were made, and comments that I received resulted in some new ideas for the continuation of my experiments.


All in all, in a very short period of time, I had the opportunity to meet and presented my work to various kinds of people. Their cultural, professional or educational background varied greatly, but the big number of participants ensured that there was always at least a dozen people with whom I shared similar problems, opinions, or interests. Therefore, establishing contacts was not that hard. Presenters were very interesting, regardless of the topics of their lectures, and most of them represented the very top in their own respective fields of research.

Although quite non-specific and broad, this conference was a great opportunity for a young researcher like me to get a grasp of where the final frontiers of the modern analytical chemistry stand. I will definitively try to attend the next one in Istanbul in 2019.

Meet the Researchers – Nenad Stojanovic

A key feature of Marie Skłodowska-Curie training networks is the mobility of the recruited Early Stage Researchers. Nenad Stojanovic is no exception!
Nenad pic

I am a PhD student at the University Duisburg-Essen. In the past I studied chemistry at the University of Novi Sad [Serbia]. After graduating, I became an employee of Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops in Novi Sad. Through working there I learned many things about chromatographic analysis of environmental samples, so in order to learn even more, I applied for the Remediate project.

Currently, under Prof. Dr. Schmidt’s supervision I am trying to develop and apply novel methods for compound specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) of environmental samples. CSIA is being used for wide range of applications. From environmental analysis, through determination of origin and/or authenticities of pharmaceutical and food products, doping control, to reaction mechanism study etc. However, the need for perfect separation of analyzed components can sometimes be common obstacle in all of these fields. Therefore my interest is to study more thoroughly the use of solvent-free extraction techniques (SPME, ITEX, P&T, HS) and multidimensional gas chromatography in order to develop more powerful methods and finally, to test them on environment samples.

Chair of Instrumental Analytical Chemistry, of which I am part of, is not devoted just to CSIA and chromatographic analysis. It also unites research in ion mobility spectrometry, advanced oxidation processes, phase-transfer processes at aqueous interfaces etc. into study of water and environment pollution.

The university itself is located in two cities, Duisburg and Essen, and it came to being through merger of two separate universities in 2003. Now, UDE is one of the youngest and one of the ten largest universities in Germany.

Although I usually tend to have high expectations in life, which often leaves me disappointed, after arriving in Germany things somehow turned out to be much better than I could ever expect. I hope this is not just temporary thing, and I hope this impression will last for a long time.