Dr. Nerea Rodriguez is one of the latest researchers hired by the SIM² KU Leuven cluster. In the interview below you can get to know more about this Spanish postdoctoral researcher with a background in Deep Eutectic Solvents.

Why did you chose to come to Belgium/to the laboratory of Prof. Koen Binnemans?

“It was the project [SBO SMART: “Materials from Solid and Liquid Industrial Process Residues”], rather than the country, that I took into consideration when searching for a new research group. It was clear to me that I wanted to continue in the field of separation technologies using novel nature-based solvents. The recovery of metals using Deep Eutectic Solvents attracted my attention in the last period of my PhD. I knew the group of Prof. Koen Binnemans in advance, and luckily there was an open vacancy in the topic of my interest, so I did not doubt about it.”

What do you dislike/like the most about Leuven

“I am still new in the city, but there are already a lot of things that I love. The size and the architecture of the city are perfect to me (you can find everything you need but still you can breathe a relaxing atmosphere). I also like the incredible cultural offer, as well as the beautiful parks and green areas that are available all around the city.”

How do you recharge?

“I have a lot of hobbies that help me keep my mind clear. The most remarkable one is sewing. I started making my own clothes some years ago, when I received as birthday present a second hand sewing machine (which is older than me, by the way). I am also a huge fan of movies and live music. I also enjoy travelling around the world whenever I find the time for that.”

Which question would you like to ask your colleague?

For the next one I will remove “What do you dislike/like the most about Leuven” and I would add “What was your favorite toy as a kid”.

 

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Nerea Rodriguez Rodriguez was born in Baiona (Spain) in 1988. In 2006, she started her degree in Chemical Engineering with specialization in materials engineering at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Nerea received the Erasmus Exchange Studies Scholarship and spent the 2009-2010 academic year at the University of Trento (Italy), where she got her specialization in environmental engineering. The next year, she went to India for a research internship on “Ultrasound assisted chemical reactions”.

After her graduation, Nerea worked as research intern at the Engineering Faculty of the University of Porto (Portugal) on ionic liquids. Later on, she started her PhD at the Eindhoven University of Technology and investigated the separation of different azeotropic mixtures using deep eutectic solvents and ionic liquids via extractive distillation and liquid-liquid extraction.

Since April 2017, she joined the Lab for Inorganic Chemistry, working on the SMART-project (‘Sustainable Metal Extraction from Tailings’). Her main research interests are the development of novel solvents for high affinity separations, fluid phase equilibria, thermodynamics, solvent extraction, and leaching.