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Beijerinck Virology Prize awarded to Ron Fouchier and Beijerinck Premium to Daniel Hurdiss

January 18, 2023

The M.W. Beijerinck Virology Prize is awarded once every two years to a researcher who has distinguished themself internationally in the field of virology. The Beijerinck Premium is awarded annually to a young researcher to encourage virology research.

Logo KNAWLeading virologist Ron Fouchier awarded Academy's M.W. Beijerinck Virology Prize. The €35,000 monetary award and a medal will be presented at the Dutch Annual Virology Symposium (DAVS) on 10 March 2023. On the same occasion, virologist Daniel Hurdiss will receive the €25,000 Beijerinck Premium for Young Virologists.

Ron Fouchier (born 1966) began his career researching HIV/AIDS, but later switched to respiratory viruses such as influenza. Now he is one of the leading authorities on respiratory viruses and their impact on human and animal health.

Fouchier set up a research group within the Department of Viroscience at the Erasmus University Medical Centre (Rotterdam) to study the molecular biology and evolution of influenza viruses. With his team, he discovered and characterised a number of newly emerging respiratory viruses, including several corona viruses and a new avian influenza (“bird flu”) virus.

As a professor of molecular virology at the Erasmus University Medical Centre, Fouchier studies how viruses evolve and can become pathogenic, switch hosts, become airborne, and escape the host’s immune system. He uses his findings to develop applications for human and animal health. As managing director of the national influenza centre, he improved the methodology for selecting the optimum flu vaccine each year. In 1998, he launched a Dutch avian flu monitoring network, one of the most effective and longest-running programmes in the world.
Fouchier has involved numerous young researchers in all his initiatives. He has supervised many PhD candidates and students; eight team members or former team members have started an independent research group and have become professors themselves.

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