Professor Willem de Vos has received the Order of the Netherlands Lion for his contribution to science, in particular, his work in biotechnology.
He received the award from the mayor of Wageningen at a ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Microbiology chair group at Wageningen University. The mayor referred to De Vos as ‘one of the most highly respected microbiologists in the world’.
He was the first to use a multidisciplinary approach to research the diversity of bacteria found in the human gastrointestinal tract. Using DNA analyses he irrefutably established that each individual person has a unique combination of intestinal bacterial species, which in part is determined genetically.
His work laid the foundations for a new research field that aims to understand the relationship between the intestinal bacteria and the host’s health. He believes the diagnostics of intestinal bacteria can contribute to concise indications of specific diseases to aid better treatment.
De Vos is credited with countless scientific breakthroughs which he has subsequently transformed into creative applications in biotechnology. This isn’t his first honour either, De Vos has picked up some major research awards, including the NWO’s Spinoza Prize and the EU’s ERC Grant. He has supervised more than 85 PhD students, (co)authored over 400 peer-reviewed papers, and was involved in the filing of more than 25 patents or patent applications.
De Vos is Head of Projects and Research at NIZO, Professor of Microbiology at Wageningen University, and Academy Professor of Human Microbiomics at the University of Helsinki.
You can watch his 2011 EMI lecture here:
Categories: Feature Articles