The Chemometrics and Advanced Separations Team (CAST) is a small group of enthusiasts within the analytical research groups of the Center of Analytical Sciences Amsterdam (CASA), which is a collaboration between the University of Amsterdam and VU University in Amsterdam. The majority of its members spends a bit of time on the development of advanced separation systems and/or chemometric tools for use in separation sciences. The common thread is that in each of these cases the results and developed tools of the studies will be embedded into the MOREPEAKS program. Aside from providing information on the latest research by the team, the website also intends to provide a useful repository on the application and theory of multi-dimensional liquid chromatography.

As part of the repository, the website also holds, a large 2D-LC method database in collaboration with Dwight Stoll from the Gustavus Adolphus College.

Bob Pirok

After obtaining his MSc degree in 2014 and prior to becoming a PhD student in 2015, Bob Pirok worked at Shell. He received a string of international recognitions, including a Shimadzu Young-Scientist Award at HPLC2015 Beijing, the Young-Scientist-Award Lecture during the SCM-8 meeting in Amsterdam in 2017, the Csaba Horváth Young-Scientist Award at HPLC2017 Prague, the Journal of Chromatography Award during the ISCC Conference in Riva de Garda in 2018, and the SCM Award at the SCM-9 meeting in Amsterdam in 2019.

Pirok conducted his PhD research at the van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences in the context of the MAnIAC project (Making Analytical Incompatible Approaches Compatible). His thesis features 14 peer-reviewed papers and he was awarded his PhD degree with the distinction cum laude. One of the most significant contributions is the development of reaction modulators. An example is the immobilized-enzyme reactor which allows on-line digestion of fractionated molecules for subsequent analysis of the digested components. By incorporating such advanced reaction modulators in multi-dimensional analytical separation systems, Bob has paved the way for a whole new generation of instruments and methods.

There is, however, a significant disadvantage of the complex new analytical technology: Method development becomes extremely complex and time consuming. Adding to this, the analysis of large amounts of complex data needs to be addressed. Pirok therefore founded CAST, which focuses its research on developing algorithms and software to facilitate these processes, using the latest tools from chemometrics and artificial intelligence.

PhD Candidates

Tijmen Bos

Tijmen Bos obtained his MSc degree in 2018. Currently, he is conducting his PhD at the VU University in Amsterdam within the framework of the UNMATCHED project. A project which is funded by BASF, DSM, Nouryon and the Dutch Institute for Scientific Research (NWO). While his research mainly focuses on the development of separation techniques for cellulose materials, Bos also spends a bit of his time in developing algorithms to deconvolute gradient-profile distortions within the context of retention modelling. Earlier, Bos performed computational fluid dynamics simulations and explore 3D-printing methods for the production of 3D-LC systems as part of the ERC STAMP project.


  • T.S. Bos, W.C. Knol, S.R.A. Molenaar, L.E. Niezen, P.J. Schoenmakers, G.W. Somsen, B.W.J. Pirok, Recent applications of chemometrics in one- and two-dimensional chromatography. J. Sep. Sci. 43(9-10), 2020, 1678-1727, DOI: 10.1002/jssc.202000011

  • T. Adamopoulou, S. Deridder, T.S. Bos, S. Nawada, G. Desmet, P.J. Schoenmakers Optimizing design and employing pemeability differences to achieve flow confinement in devices for spatial multidimensional liquid chromatography, J. Chromatogr. A, 1612, 2020, 460665, DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2019.460665
  • H.C. van de Ven, J. Purmova, G. Groeneveld, T.S. Bos, A.F.G. Gargano, Sj. van der Wal, Y. Mengerink, P.J. Schoenmakers, Living with Breakthrough: Two-Dimensional Liquid-Chromatography Separations of a Water-Soluble Synthetically Grafted Bio-Polymer, Separations, 7(3), 2020, 41, DOI:  10.3390/separations7030041

Wouter Knol

Wouter Knol obtained his MSc degree in 2018 at the University of Amsterdam. He conducts his PhD in the UNMATCHED project in Amsterdam and mainly focuses on techniques to determine the sequence distribution of polymers. Earlier, Knol developed methods using SWATH-MS within the context of proteomics. Within CAST, Wouter investigates optimization of the detection technique hyphenated to the separation system.


  • T.S. Bos, W.C. Knol, S.R.A. Molenaar, L.E. Niezen, P.J. Schoenmakers, G.W. Somsen, B.W.J. Pirok, Recent applications of chemometrics in one- and two-dimensional chromatography. J. Sep. Sci. 43(9-10), 2020, 1678-1727, DOI: 10.1002/jssc.202000011

Stef Molenaar

Stef Molenaar obtained his MSc degree in 2019 at the University of Amsterdam. Stef currently conducts his PhD in Amsterdam and his research is specifically aimed towards the development of MOREPEAKS as part of the UNMATCHED project. For his graduation project, Molenaar worked on retention modelling for multi-segmented gradients and hydrophilic interaction chromatography. In 2018, Molenaar began to specialize in education and he is a certified teacher. His enthusiasm for the applicability of retention modelling to computationally accelerate method development brought Stef often in his free time to the campus. Next to retention modelling in HILIC, Molenaar has also published on peak-tracking algorithms for LC-MS data, something which he continues now for multi-dimensional chromatography.


Leon Niezen

Leon Niezen obtained his MSc degree in 2018 at the University of Amsterdam. He currently works as a PhD candidate in Amsterdam within the UNMATCHED project. Niezen has earlier worked on 3D-printing technology within the context of the development of analytical devices. Now, Leon mainly focuses on the development of retention models for polymer separations. In addition, his work studies the feasibility of effectively determining the critical point for polymer distributions and their use in so-called size-exclusion chromatography (SEC)-based gradients.

Mimi den Uijl

Mimi den Uijl obtained her master’s degree at the University of Amsterdam in 2018. She is now a PhD student in the TooCOLD (Toolbox for studying the Chemistry Of Light-induced Degradation) project at the University of Amsterdam. In this project, Mimi develops light-induced reaction modulators for use in 2D-LC. She has published on the development of analysis methods for cultural-heritage samples using LC×LC and active modulation. She recently was decorated with a best poster award at HPLC2019 (Milan, Italy) and a the third prize in the HPLC-Tube competition. Within CAST, Mimi is currently working on the development of reliable gradient-scanning protocols.


Denice van Herwerden

Denice van Herwerden

Denice van Herwerden is a graduate student within CAST and MOREPEAKS. Her research focuses towards developing optimization tools for heart-cut two-dimensional liquid chromatography. She earlier worked on simulating retention in hydrodynamic chromatography (HDC) and the development of immobilized-enzyme based reaction modulators for use in 2D-LC.



Mariyana Savova

Mariyana Savova

Mariyana Savova conducts her graduation project within CAST and MOREPEAKS, and focuses on the development of pragmatic models for use in modelling retention in supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC).

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Recent Posts

Recent applications of retention modelling in LC

PhD candidate Mimi den Uijl has together with her co-workers reviewed recent applications of retention modelling in LC. In the review, den Uijl furthermore identified key application areas where retention modelling received a significant degree of interest.

Detection Challenges in Polymer Analysis with LC

What are the latest developments around detection techniques for (polymer) LC? Where are the opportunities? Our talented PhD candidate and colleague Wouter Knol answers these and more questions in his open-access review published in Journal of Separation Sciences together with polymer expert Prof. Ron Peters.

Parallel gradients as alternative to shifted gradients in 2D-LC

A joint study by the University of Waterloo (Prof. Tadeusz Górecki), the Stellenbosch University (Prof. Andre de Villiers) and the University of Amsterdam (Dr. Bob Pirok) was just published in Journal of Chromatography A. In the study, parallel gradients are evaluated as alternative for shifted gradients in comprehensive 2D-LC.