Anna Chrobok, Professor
I graduated from the Faculty of Chemistry at Silesian University of Technology (SUT) in 1996, with an MSc Eng. in Chemical Technology. In 2001 at the same University, I have defended my doctoral thesis under supervision of Professor Stefan Baj, entitled “Studies on the synthesis of organic peresters under phase transfer conditions”, obtaining the title of PhD in Technical Sciences with distinction. In 2003, I have completed a year-long postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Vienna with professor Edda Gossinger, where I was involved in the project on the total synthesis of potential antibiotics at the Institute of Organic Chemistry. This time I have met dr. Roland Kalb (nowadays Managing Director and Founder at Proionic GmbH) who fascinated me with ionic liquids. Having returned to Poland (SUT), I started to study the application of ionic liquids as solvents for organic synthesis and as a result in 2011 I was promoted as dr. with habilitation. My scientific career at this stage has focused on gaining skill in organic chemistry and technology. In the beginning, I mastered skills in organic synthesis. Next, I aimed to gain new knowledge that would be significant for the chemical industry in the field of alternative solvents for chemical reactions, e.g. ionic liquids as well as I studied various aspects of catalyst research for industrial organic chemistry. I started to direct my own research project on ionic liquids dedicated for oxidation processes in 2010. In 2013 I began to study the properties of new acidic ionic liquids and their applications as catalysts in organic synthesis. In this regard, I began a collaboration with dr. Gosia Swadźba-Kwaśny and professor Kenneth Seddon (recent and former Queen’s University Laboratories (QUILL) Research Centre in Belfast (UK) directors). This project, financed by Polish National Science Centre (NCN, Harmony), started our broad cooperation which is still very fruitful and inspiring.
Up to this day, I was a lider of several projects sponsored by Polish National Science Centre (OPUS), and National Centre for Research and Development (BIOSTRATEG, INNOCHEM). Discovered by us new acidic protic ionic liquids have already found an interest of Polish chemical industry (GRUPA AZOTY, Zakłady Azotowe Kędzierzyn and Puławy; Solvent Wistol S.A.). After several works financed by the companies the tests and scaling up studies will be carried out in the industry partners.
The second bench of my scientific interest is the designing of active and stable biocatalysts. Process for the preparation of ε-caprolactone from cyclohexanone and hydrogen peroxide using chemo-enzymatic catalysis (KAPROPOL) was dedicated for GRUPA AZOTY Zakłady Azotowe Puławy S.A. The pilot plant for the lactone production is already build and the production will be started on summer 2019.
From 2013 to 2017, I was a Head of the Department of Chemical Organic Technology and Petrochemistry. In 2016, I was elected as a Vice-Dean for Science and International Cooperation. Finally, in 2018 I get the professor title in technical science and currently I work at Chemistry Department (SUT). During my scientific work I found fascinating cooperation with young researchers who are very creative and they are always ready for new challenges. Four young doctors have already been graduated under my supervision, and others are waiting for promotion.