Polymer chemist Jan van Hest was awarded last June 19th the Spinoza Prize, the highest distinction in Dutch science. Van Hest’s activities include the development of artificial cells and nanomedicines.
Since 2016 he is director of the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS) at the Technical University Eindhoven (TUE). ICMS and IBEC have been collaborating since 2018 and in 2020 they signed a new collaboration agreement.
Jan van Hest is a pioneer in the area of artificial cells and organelles, the organs of the cell. He and his group work in the development of advanced materials that are partly natural and partly synthetic. He is also working on nanoreactors that can be deployed as artificial organelles in living cells to initiate reactions with enzymes.
Van Hest is a leader in a research field at the interface of polymer chemistry and biology. He was the first to produce polymersomes: empty spheres that can be filled, for example, with proteins or drugs and then inserted into a cell. With this technique, he succeeded in producing an artificial cell that simulates the complex behaviour of a living cell.
IBEC and ICMS, a strong partnership
Back in 2018, IBEC and ICMS planted the seed of what is being a promising partnership and in 2020 both institutions signed a collaboration agreement. Due to the similarities and complementary aspects of both research centres – their multidisciplinarity, active missions to connect with industry and clinicians, and strong research in nano, materials, molecular devices, supramolecular systems and regenerative medicine – have built a strong alliance.
Since they joined forces, both centres have shared resources, knowledge, and people, who regularly visit both centres. They have also organised two joint symposiums, one in 2018 in Eindhoven and the last one this past July 2019 at IBEC facilities. Currently, two IBEC group leaders, Vito Conte and Lorenzo Albertazzi, already have dual appointments with ICMS.
About Spinoza Prize
The NWO Spinoza Prize has been awarded since 1995 to scientists who have distinguished themselves through their outstanding, pioneering and inspiring work. A total of four scientists will receive the premium this year. The laureates will each receive 2.5 million euros, to be spent on scientific research and activities related to the use of knowledge. The prizes will be awarded on 30 September during a festive meeting in The Hague.
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