7 January 2021

The entire COVID-19 research team at Radboudumc, which includes Frank van de Veerdonk, Mihai Netea, Roger Brüggemann, Leo Joosten and Alexander Hoischen, will receive the 2020 Hermesdorf Prize. Charlotte Bekker will be awarded the Hermesdorf Talent Prize.

Each year, the Hermesdorf Prizes are presented to senior researchers of Radboud University or Radboudumc. The Hermesdorf Talent Prize goes to a scientist at the start of her/his career. The awards are named after Prof. B.H.D. Hermesdorf, Rector Magnificus of Radboud University from late 1942 to September 1945. For reasons of principle he - as the sole Dutch Rector Magnificus - refused to present students with a declaration of loyalty to the German occupying forces, which inevitably led to the university’s closure in April 1943. He refrained from compromising his principles in trying times.

In the tradition of its namesake, the award is presented to researchers who have demonstrated unusual courage, have exerted an uncommon level of effort, or have not shied away from resistance. The award consists of a certificate and a small plaque with the image of Prof. Hermesdorf.

Winner of the Hermesdorf Prize 2020

The entire COVID-19 research team at Radboud university medical center, which includes Frank van de Veerdonk, Mihai Netea, Roger Brüggemann, Leo Joosten and Alexander Hoischen.

2020 was the year of the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 1.5 million deaths worldwide, more than 60 million infections and each society muddling through the balancing act between life as usual and full lockdowns. Scientists from Radboudumc played a prominent role in the COVID-19 research, in which the bradykinin hypothesis, the BCG study and the genetic vulnerability for SARS-CoV-2 stood out.

In an unprecedentedly hectic year, they conducted impressive research into treatment of the corona virus. When the team of infectiologists published their hypotheses about the virus in April, the Volkskrant wrote “it grabbed the attention of doctors, scientists and pharmacists all over the world”. It is also commendable that during this busy period they still make time to explain and elaborate on these findings in national and international media outlets.

Winner of the Hermesdorf Talent Prize 2020

Charlotte Bekker, affiliated with Radboudumc, for her research on how to avoid wasting unused medicines.

Many unused medicines could, after a quality check in the pharmacy, be dispensed to another patient who needs exactly that medicine. However, current legislation does not permit that. The risk that a medicine has been stored incorrectly and its quality has deteriorated over time is considered too great. Bekker has therefore devised a special method to make reissue possible.

Anti-cancer drugs are packaged in special packaging, with a seal and a temperature logger. If these drugs are excess to requirements and are returned to the pharmacy, the seal is carefully checked to ensure it is not broken, that the drug has not been used, and that the storage temperature was not too high or too low. After a thorough check in the pharmacy, the drug can be safely dispensed to another patient. An exception to the existing legislation has been requested for this.


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