The 2016 LCGC Awards: Part 2

April 25, 2016
Meg L'Heureux
The Column
Volume 7, Issue 12

This year, LCGC is pleased to honour Debby Mangelings as the winner of the 2016 Emerging Leader in Chromatography Award. Mangelings received her award on Monday 7 March during an oral symposium at Pittcon 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Meg L’Heureux, LCGC North America

This year, LCGC is pleased to honour Debby Mangelings as the winner of the 2016 Emerging Leader in Chromatography Award. Mangelings received her award on Monday 7 March during an oral symposium at Pittcon 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

LCGC’s 2016 Emerging Leader in Chromatography, Debby Mangelings, obtained her pharmacist diploma in 2001 from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences in March 2006 from the same university.

Mangelings’s PhD supervisor was Yvan Vander Heyden, a professor in the Department of Analytical Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, who took notice of her work during her early graduate studies. “During her master’s thesis work, which was also performed in our department, we noticed that she was a logically thinking and hard working student, so we asked her to start a PhD,” said Vander Heyden. Mangelings agreed.

After completing her PhD in 2006, with a thesis entitled “Evaluation of Capillary Electrochromatography as Chiral Separation Technique - Definition of a Generic Separation Strategy”, Mangelings became a postdoctoral fellow with the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) within the Department of Analytical Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She became a part‑time professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2009 and was promoted to associate professor in 2010, which is the position she holds today. In this role, Mangelings has supervised five successful doctoral students and is currently supervising five additional students who are working on their degrees.

A Focus on Chiral Separations: Mangelings’s work has focused primarily on chiral separations and the use of miniaturized separation techniques. She has focused on the definition and updating of chiral separation strategies for various modes of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) - including normal‑phase, reversed-phase, and polar organic solvent chromatography - as well as for capillary electrophoresis (CE) and capillary electrochromatography (CEC). Her current research efforts are focused on developing supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) methods for chiral analyses and nonchiral analysis for drug impurity profiling, the robustness of chiral CE methods, the use of new chiral stationary phases in CEC, and the development of fingerprint chromatograms of herbal extracts using ultrahigh-pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC) with mass spectrometry (MS) detection. The synthesis of in-capillary stationary phases, such as monoliths for both chiral and achiral separations in CEC, is another one of her interests.

More recently, Mangelings has become involved in the chemometric data analysis of chiral separation data to study systems with similar or dissimilar enantioselectivity. In CEC, she is working on the evaluation of new stationary phases, such as those with smaller particle diameters or with core–shell particles. Finally, she was recently involved in the successful chiral separation of uncommon compounds such as the boron cluster species.

Mangelings has received two awards for her research. At the 17th International Symposium on Microscale Separations and Analysis in 2004 (HPCE 2004) held in Salzburg, Austria, Mangelings received the Applied Physical Chemistry Award of the Istvan Halasz Foundation for outstanding achievements in the field of chromatography. In 2007, she was the Laureate of the National Prize of the Belgian Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Vander Heyden said that Mangelings is clearly one of the most promising experts in chiral separations.

Martin Schmid, an associate professor at the University of Graz, Austria, said that Mangelings’s work to make chiral method development more strategic and systematic is important because chiral separation behaviour is difficult to predict and often remains a trial-and-error attempt - despite great advances in method development for enantioseparation in the last 20–30 years. “Mangelings’s group has made a lot of progress introducing chiral separation strategies, such as for CEC,” he said “With their help it will be easier to get positive results for enantioresolution of a broad spectrum of analytes.”

Bezhan Chankvetadze, a Professor and Director of the Institute of Physical and Analytical Chemistry at Tbilisi State University, agreed. “Based on our current understanding of chiral separations, we cannot predict separation results based on molecular descriptors of a chiral selector and screening remains the major way for achieving and optimizing enantioseparations,” said Chankvetadze. “Therefore, optimizing the existing screening strategies is very important for both academia and industry, in particular the pharmaceutical industry.”

Caroline West, an associate professor at the University of Orléans, echoed the comments of Schmid and Chankvetadze. “Mangelings’s work is definitely practical, with an intention to rationalize and simplify the strategies to achieve chiral separations with a minimum of time, effort, and costs,” West said. “She is devoted to producing something useful and easy for end-users.”

Another scientific peer, Serge Rudaz, an associate professor at the University of Geneva, made similar remarks. “Mangelings is strong in both the theoretical and practical aspects of separation science and has a keen eye for topics with a broad interest,” he said. He noted her important contributions in chiral CEC specifically, which he monitored closely during a period when his group was involved with the countercurrent approach in capillary zone electrophoresis. “It was the pioneering period for coupling electro‑driven techniques with mass spectrometry,” he said. “It was difficult for all groups, therefore we were really following all contributions that could help us to have success with the hyphenation of CE and MS.”

Mangelings has also shared her work and expertise with the scientific community at large. Her publication record includes 8 book chapters and 64 manuscripts in peer‑reviewed journals, and she has given 45 oral and 71 poster presentations at national and international congresses and symposia. Since 2012 she has been a member of the editorial board of Chromatographia and Acta Chromatographica.


West noted that Mangelings’s work is cited often, with a Scopus count of 770 external citations and an h-index of 15. “Among her papers are some of the most influential works on the development of generic screening strategies for chiral separations,” said West.

Teresa Kowalska, a professor in the Institute of Chemistry at the University of Silesia, is also impressed by the impact Mangelings’s expertise has had so far, despite her young age. “Mangelings’s outstanding expertise, particularly in the fields of capillary electrophoresis and capillary electrochromatography, makes her an internationally recognized leading figure, an invited speaker at many separation science conferences, and a highly demanded reviewer for multiple separation science journals,” she concluded.

Indeed, Chankvetadze stated that he enjoys Mangelings’s presentations at international conferences because they always contain solid scientific results and are well organized and clear. As a result, Chankvetadze has invited Mangelings to be a speaker at all of the international conferences he has organized in recent years. He also commended Mangelings’s work as an author and reviewer. “Mangelings greatly serves the separation science community not only as a good author, but also as a very competent and fair reviewer of submissions to international journals,” said Chankvetadze. “Knowing her ability to be a principled, fair, and punctual judge, I frequently ask her to review manuscripts for the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, which I edit.”

Kowalska had a similar assessment of Mangelings’s work as a reviewer. “Whenever I invite her to review a manuscript submitted to a chromatography journal that I edit, Acta Chromatographica, she always accepts my invitation,” she said. “Manuscript reviews provided by Mangelings are exemplary masterpieces of competence and thoroughness, voluminous and not just critical, but appreciably educative for the manuscript authors.”

Chankvetadze said that although Mangelings is young and can still be considered an emerging scientist, she is already a well-established leader worldwide in the field of enantioseparations. “The proof of this is not only her impressive list of publications in international journals and the presentations she makes at international conferences, but also the network of PhD and master’s degree students around her at Vrije Universiteit Brussels, as well as the international collaborations she is involved in,” he said.

Chankvetadze also enjoys his own direct collaborations with Mangelings, who is a very pleasant colleague who always considers the contribution of all parties in a joint project. “She has a good ability to generate new projects and is a very constructive team player,” he said.

Kowalska anticipates that Mangelings’s career will continue in a challenging and rewarding way. “In my view, Mangelings will continue moving towards challenging and pioneering applications of selected instrumental separation techniques to solve demanding scientific problems in pharmaceutical and other life sciences,”
she said.

Rudaz foresees a similarly bright future for Mangelings. “Mangelings is well qualified to be a future leader in separation science and has the intellect and skills to contribute massively to the study of chromatography and other separation techniques,” he concluded.

Meg L’Heureux is the managing editor of LCGC North America.