Meet our new colleagues Dr. Andrés Alvarez and Zhichao Liu

Meet our new colleagues Dr. Andrés Alvarez and Zhichao Liu

We are excited to announce the expansion of our team with two new wonderful colleagues: Andrés, our System Architect (Precision Engineer), and Zhichao, our Field Service Engineer.

DENSsolutions Eva Bladt

We are thrilled to introduce two of our newest colleagues who, just like the rest of our team, exemplify our commitment to innovation and excellence: Dr. Andrés Alvarez and Zhichao Liu. Dr. Andrés Alvarez takes the helm as our System Architect (Precision Engineer), who will play a key role in designing the architecture that underpins our cutting-edge solutions, from design all the way to implementation. With an extensive background in mechanical engineering, Andrés brings a unique blend of technical expertise and a creative touch to his projects. His role is instrumental in ensuring and boosting the reliability, robustness and ease-of-use of our solutions by incorporating top-notch precision engineering practices.

We are also thrilled to welcome Zhichao Liu, our new Field Service Engineer, who will play a crucial role in the installation, service and repair of our in situ electron microscopy solutions, both globally and remotely. With a background in electrochemistry and micro- and nano-engineering/science, and experience in providing high-level training for microscopy techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM) and Raman microscopy, Zhichao is well-equipped as our new Field Service Engineer to ensure that our valued customers have all the support they need. In this article, we invite you to get to know Andrés and Zhichao better, delving into their background, education and experience as well as their role at DENSsolutions.

Meet Dr. Andrés Alvarez

“My name is Andrés Alvarez, and I come from Bogotá, Colombia. I was born in 1981, the youngest of three siblings. From an early age, I was fascinated with household devices, often taking them apart and putting them right back together. This early curiosity, coupled with the unwavering support of my parents, sparked my lifelong passion for science and engineering. I studied Mechanical Engineering at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, broadening my technical perspective with courses in product design, automation and electrical engineering. As I neared the end of my undergraduate studies, I contemplated a career in academia and dreamed of pursuing further studies abroad. However, a unique opportunity arose when I started working for Alfagres, a notable manufacturer of ceramic tile products and paints. At Alfagres, I was focused on developing production equipment. But my academic dreams were not entirely sidelined as I received a scholarship to pursue my master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering through the Erasmus Mundus program. This led me to study at the renowned universities of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Ecole Nationale de Sciences Appliquées de Lyon.

“Outside of my professional journey, I have many interests – I grew up liking the television, music and videogames of the eighties and nineties, with a lot of influence from my older brother. I’ve also always enjoyed fantasy and science fiction novels. Nowadays. I have a wide-ranging taste in music and enjoy playing video games, musical instruments and board games.” – Dr. Andrés Alvarez

My pursuit of knowledge then led me to a PhD in the Netherlands at Delft University of Technology, where I was part of the Intelligent Mechanical Systems group, focusing on the ‘automatic generation of control software for mechatronic systems.’ This project allowed me to collaborate with high-tech companies, expanding my knowledge of system architecting and model-based design. In 2011, I successfully defended my PhD thesis, titled ‘Architecture-centric design: Modeling and applications to control architecture generation.’ Stepping away from academia and transitioning to industry instead, I first worked at Sonion, developing miniature devices integrating electro-acoustical sensors and actuators for the hearing-aid industry. Then I joined the Dutch Ophthalmic Research Center as a Systems Architect, where I contributed to the development of the EVA platform for ophthalmic surgery systems. This product interfaces with a wide range of surgical instruments, providing approximately 10 different surgical functions. It also features a graphical user interface for real-time adjustments, ensuring a seamless match with the surgery plan and addressing any unexpected situations in the operating room. Now, at DENSsolutions, I’m excited to embrace new challenges in the complex and dynamic field of in situ microscopy. This role involves seeking innovative solutions to product architecture, and I believe that my diverse background in academia and industry has equipped me with a unique set of skills to tackle the cutting-edge challenges of this industry.”

Meet Zhichao Liu

“My name is Zhichao Liu, and I was born and raised in China. My scientific journey began at Ocean University of China, where I pursued a degree in polymer materials and engineering. My inspiration to undergo this degree came from understanding the endless potential of polymers in reshaping the future. My studies covered diverse subjects, ranging from the intricacies of mathematics and physics to the fascinating world of polymer materials and electrochemistry. After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I moved to the Netherlands to pursue a master’s degree in Electrochemistry and Nanoscience at Leiden University. It was specifically during this time that I uncovered my passion for electrochemistry and micro- and nano-engineering, setting the course for many of my future endeavors. This passion led me to pursue a PhD in electrochemical sensor fabrication with micro and nano techniques at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). During my doctoral journey, I successfully fabricated electrochemical sensor chips using inkjet printing methods. These cutting-edge chips are adept at monitoring a wide array of molecular levels within the human body, such as dopamine, glucose and tyrosine. Beyond research, I actively participated in various roles. One notable role I undertook was a Lab Instructor at the PME department’s chemistry lab at TU Delft, where I was responsible for providing comprehensive training to all masters, doctoral and post-doctoral students before they used the chemistry lab. I also needed to understand their research objectives, assisting them in devising experimental schemes and alerting them to potential risks and hazards.

“Aside from my professional life, one of my greatest hobbies is swimming, especially in the sea. Beyond my love for swimming, I’ve always had an appreciation for nature, immersing myself in it through hiking expeditions when I can. I also enjoy keeping myself busy with projects where I’m able to exercise my love for invention, so I’m often crafting various gadgets and devices at home. In fact, my latest project to date is designing and developing an electric-foil surfboard.” – Zhichao Liu

Additionally, at TU Delft I served as the instructor for equipment like the electrochemical workstation, and techniques like AFM and Raman microscopy. Moreover, my duties in this capacity included not only training users but also daily maintenance of the instruments, troubleshooting and coordinating repairs with the manufacturers. Importantly, it was during my tenure as a Raman instructor that I became familiar with DENSsolutions. I was particularly impressed to learn of the company’s dedication to technological innovation, successfully developing cutting-edge in situ solutions that hold a significant position in the market. As a Field Service Engineer at DENSsolutions, my primary objective is to ensure optimal performance and longevity of our in situ electron microscopy solutions. I’m committed to providing efficient installations, timely services and prompt repairs to maintain and enhance customer trust and satisfaction. Additionally, I aim to continually learn and gather feedback to appropriately address evolving customer needs, furthering the company’s reputation for excellence.“

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