Academy selects sixteen new members

18 May 2016

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences has selected sixteen new members. Academy members are prominent researchers active in all the disciplines. New members are nominated by peers from within and outside the Academy. The Academy has about five hundred members. Members are appointed for life. The new members will be installed on Monday 12 September 2016 at the Trippenhuis Building, the Academy’s headquarters.

The new members are:

Harold Bekkering (50)
professor of cognitive psychology, Radboud University Nijmegen, director of Donders Centre for Cognition and chairman of Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

Harold Bekkering investigates which mechanisms in the brain are decisive for human interaction. How do we arrive at goal-directed actions and how do we influence others in that regard? His research is wide-ranging and he has done pioneering work on such subjects as imitation, learning, language, social cognition, robotics, social cooperation and cognitive development. His research makes use of both traditional psychological methods and neuroscientific techniques. Bekkering publishes in leading journals but also writes books in the popular science genre, for example on learning in children and robotics.

Karin Bijsterveld (54)
professor of science, technology & modern culture at Maastricht University

Karin Bijsterveld studies the cultural history of sound. She is one of the founders of the interdisciplinary field of Sound Studies. Bijsterveld has written about the history of noise, the relationship between technology and music, the rise of the car radio, and the role of listening in science and engineering. Her work has attracted attention outside the world of academia. Her research on historical urban soundscapes made it possible for people visiting the Amsterdam Museum to hear what the city sounded like in 1895 and 1935. Bijsterveld has also been active abroad, for example as an adviser on a project at London’s Science Museum.

Henk Brinkhuis (56)
professor of marine palynology and palaeoceanography, Utrecht University, director-general of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

Henk Brinkhuis plays a leading role in international seabed research. He has conducted pioneering research on algae fossils, which offer a record of historical climate change. His trailblazing study of extreme climate change – for example the greenhouse gas build-up of 50 million years ago – has informed our understanding of future global warming. Brinkhuis understood the importance of the Poles for our climate system. His expeditions produced astonishing evidence of subtropical conditions in the Arctic at various periods.

Marius Crainic (43)
professor of mathematics, Utrecht University

Marius Crainic is one of the world’s leading experts on Poisson geometry. Working with Professor Rui Loja Fernandes, he solved a long-standing problem of generalising Sophus Lie’s third theorem from the setting of Lie groups (every Lie algebra is associated with a Lie group) to that of Lie groupoids. His work has made an important contribution to the new field of Poisson topology.

Marileen Dogterom (48)
professor of bionanoscience, Delft University of Technology, professor of biophysics, Leiden University

Marileen Dogterom is one of the pioneers of biomolecular physics. She studies the cytoskeleton, the microtubes that give plant and animal cells their distinctive and functional shapes and that enable cells to divide successfully. Dogterom builds parts of cells in the controlled environment of her laboratory, giving her a quantitative understanding of the workings of the cytoskeleton. Her research is crucial to the development of artificial cells.

Ron Fouchier (49)
professor of molecular virology, Erasmus Medical Centre

Ron Fouchier is a pivotal figure in the field virology. He is well known among virologists for his research on respiratory viruses: his team discovered the MERS coronavirus and the metapneumovirus, and he made an important contribution to research on avian influenza. Fouchier examines the mechanisms behind the evolution of viruses in order to understand which traits lead to illness and drive transmission of the virus between hosts. Fouchier plays an active role in public debate concerning the biological risks of research, and he has outspoken ideas about the role of the World Health Organisation in epidemiological research.

Holger Gzella (41)
professor of Semitic languages / Hebrew and Aramaic language and literature, Leiden University

Holger Gzella is a multifaceted and productive scholar. He is interested in the linguistics of Hebrew and in Bible Studies, but he is mainly known as a world-class specialist in Aramaic. His magnificent A Cultural History of Aramaic (2015) analyses the entire history and cultural and historical significance of what was the main language (after Akkadian) of the Near and Middle East until the rise of Islam. In his most recent work, Aramäische Wörterbuch (2016), he places the vocabulary of older forms of Aramaic in a broader context.

Anita Hardon (55)
professor of the anthropology of health and care, University of Amsterdam

As a medical anthropologist, Anita Hardon uses innovative methods to combine the social sciences and medicine in her research on global health issues. She is interested in a broad range of subjects, from reproductive health in women, HIV/AIDS, and the social impact of pharmaceuticals on vulnerable youths to the relationship between health and global sustainable development and the role of chemical substances in the lives of young people. In part through her own efforts, Hardon’s work has also influenced the policies of the World Health Organisation and various NGOs.

Petra Hendriks (51)
professor of semantics and cognition, University of Groningen, director of the Center for Language and Cognition Groningen (CLCG)

Petra Hendriks is an internationally influential linguistics researcher who combines theoretical analysis and psycholinguistic methods in her work. Hendriks explores how language comprehension develops in ‘ideal’ circumstances, but also how it develops in ‘less ideal’ listeners, for example children with autism, ADHD or hearing impairments. Hendriks also studies how speakers allow for a listener’s ability to hear and understand them.

André Klip (51)
professor of criminal law and criminal procedure and the transnational aspects of criminal law, Maastricht University

André Klip is a leading authority in the Netherlands and Europe on international and European criminal law and criminal procedure. He has made a fundamental contribution to the study of European criminal law, an area of research that did not exist twenty years ago and is now flourishing in part thanks to his efforts. Klip has also continued his involvement in legal practice, for example in proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Rob Leurs (51)
professor of pharmacochemistry, VU University Amsterdam

Rob Leurs’ multidisciplinary research on the relationship between the chemical structure and biological activity of ligands, for example on membrane receptors, enjoys worldwide acclaim. His research is producing information that is crucial to the development of new drugs. Leurs develops medicines to combat tropical diseases and has launched his own biotech firm focusing on anti-inflammatory drugs. His takes an innovative approach to his research by adopting the insights and methods of other disciplines, including organic and computational chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology and pharmacology.

Frank Linde (58)
professor of experimental high-energy physics, University of Amsterdam

Frank Linde is a leading Dutch scientist in the field of high-energy physics – elementary particle physics. He has played an important role in the search for new particles and in identifying their traits. Lindes’ contribution to the design and construction of the hyper-sensitive ATLAS detector at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is widely acknowledged. The ATLAS detector is one of two instruments used to discover the Higgs boson in 2012. Linde has also actively supported astroparticle research in the Netherlands by involving ‘his’ institute – the National Institute for Subatomic Physics (Nikhef) – in the quest for the direct detection of gravitational waves (the Virgo experiment) and enigmatic dark matter (the XENON experiment). Linde recently became the chairman of the Astroparticle Physics European Consortium.

Mihai Netea (47)
professor of experimental internal medicine, Radboud University Medical Centre

Mihai Netea is an internationally acclaimed, highly original researcher who studies innate immunity and resistance to infection. His research concerns the way in which the immune system recognises and eliminates bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms. He recently came to international prominence with his visionary concept of ‘trained immunity’, i.e. the study of the memory traits of innate immunity. He has also described the phenomenon of immune paralysis, in which the immune system no longer reacts to outside attacks. Stimulating trained immunity might make it possible to overcome such ‘paralysis’. This could have major implications for our understanding of infection and, ultimately, lead to more effective treatment.

Brenda Penninx (45)
professor of psychiatric epidemiology, VU University Medical Centre

Brenda Penninx is a leading researcher worldwide on depression. Her large-scale, interdisciplinary approach to studying the causes, course and consequences of depressive disorders is unique. For example she was the principal investigator of the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). Her work is crucial for demonstrating and understanding the connection between depression and somatic disorders such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. She has also shown that there are different types of depression, for example one displaying typically melancholic symptoms and another with atypical and immunometabolic traits, presumably requiring different personalised treatment strategies. This can be regarded as a major breakthrough in the study of depression.

Jonathan Silk (55)
professor of Buddhist studies, Leiden University

Jonathan Silk’s research covers the entire Buddhist world, from antiquity to the present day. His profound knowledge of the literature of this complex, multilingual world and his unerring eye for the interaction between the textual tradition of Buddhism and the social history of Buddhist societies have made Silk one of the most interesting and acclaimed scholars of Buddhist Studies in the world.

Claes de Vreese (41)
professor and chair of political communication, University of Amsterdam

Claes de Vreese is one of the leading researchers in his field and one of the most productive. His work focuses on the content and impact of political news and journalism, election campaigns and referendums on public opinion and electoral behaviour. He is especially interested in the phenomenon of media framing. How does the media’s presentation of political issues influence public opinion? Which members of the public are most susceptible and under what circumstances? De Vreese’s interdisciplinary approach sheds new light on the role of the media in Western democracies. His expertise in this area means he is much in demand as an adviser to journalists, the Dutch government and the European Commission. He is the founding director of the Center for Politics and Communication (CPC), a forum for students, scholars, journalists, political actors and others interested in political communication.

Also selected as a foreign member:

Shrinivas Kulkarni
professor of astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, United States

Shrinivas Kulkarni’s name is associated with a long list of astrophysical discoveries. In 1982, he discovered the first millisecond radio pulsar, a new class of neutron star with a rotational period in the range of about 1-10 milliseconds. More recently, he helped establish a new field of research on optical transients and discovered many new astronomical objects, including superluminous supernovae. Twenty years ago, he built a major part of the first ‘pulsar machine’ for the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope, which launched the Netherlands’ successful pulsar research programme.