Jaap Van Dessel, Director of RIVM and Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Leiden, is awarded an Academy Medal.
The Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) rewarded Van Dessel (1957) for the way in which he scientifically advised the Minister of Health, Welfare, Sports and the Government’s Crisis Team on the fight against COVID-19 during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“As the head of the National Epidemic Management Team, Van Dessel has worked with boundless energy and impressive calm since the start of the pandemic to inform politicians and the public about scientific knowledge about COVID-19. He is doing so in a rapidly evolving crisis, and under pressure from debates in politics, society and science,” he says. According to the Kuwait News Agency (KNAW).
An honest broker
He did not hesitate to brief the cabinet on holding scientific papers, explaining again and again what the core of the issues are and what are the limits of current knowledge. He always remains close to the role that can be expected of the world and does not allow himself to be tempted by political statements. Jaap van Dessel can rightly be considered a “honest broker” of science.
After his doctorate in human defense against intracellular microorganisms, Yap Tamino van Dessel pursued training as an internist at Leiden University Medical Center specializing in infectious diseases. He did research in the US at Duke University Medical Center, Durham and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and was a member of the Infectious Diseases division at LUMC. There he was appointed Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases in 1999. Since 2013, Van Dessel has also held the position of Director of the RIVM Center for Infectious Diseases Control.
The Academy Medal is awarded every two years to a person who has made a special effort to “flourish Dutch science”. Van Dissel will receive the award on May 31. Previous winners are Paul Schnabel, Robert Jan Smits and Trudy Deho.