27 February 2018

My name is Wouter Verdurmen, Assistant professor at the Dept.of Biochemistry, theme Nanomedicine.

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? Can you tell us something about your child years. 

When I was very young, I remember being very fond of numbers, irrespective of whether they were related to computer games, hit-charts or sports. This was kind of a family thing. It actually still is. My oldest brother went on to study econometrics and I initially wanted to do that as well, but later I became more interested in health and disease, so biomedical sciences was a better fit.

What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why that study? 

I studied Biomedical Sciences and focused later during my PhD mostly on biochemistry. I like the quantitative nature of it. Furthermore, as indicated above, I became interested in health and disease and wanted to make a positive impact in that area.

The RIMLS motto is “Today’s molecules for tomorrow’s medicine”. What does this mean for you? 

That is actually quite literal for my line of research, as myself and others ‘today’ are working with a class of molecules called ‘designed ankyrin repeat proteins’, which are binding proteins not unlike antibodies, which we hope will be part of the future repertoire of medicines.

Who is your great example as scientists? And please give a motivation why.

I’d say Andreas Plückthun. I was lucky to work for him as a postdoc. He is an outstanding scientist and also managed to co-found two highly successful biotechnology companies.

Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud? 

I would put it differently. I am happy with how things have been going, but they’re only small steps on a long road that I hope will eventually help patients.

Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform?

I don’t believe in a single groundbreaking experiment. Given unlimited finance though, I would assemble a team of talented researchers and pursue a long-term strategy for the development of innovative intracellular drugs.

What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)?

It is reasonably tidy, which I think is necessary for working in an organized and efficient manner. For me, tidiness is not a goal by itself but rather a means to an end.

Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her?

Dirk van de Brand.

What type of person are you, quick insights:

a) Mac or PC?                                : PC
b) Theater or cinema?                 : Cinema
c) Dine out or dine in?                 : Dine out
d) Ferrari or Fiat?                         : Ferrari
e) Shopaholic or chocoholic?     : Chocoholic
f) Culture or Nature                     : Nature in the morning, culture in the evening

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