Ron Fouchier (1966) started his career with research into HIV/AIDS, but later moved on to respiratory viruses, such as flu. Now he is one of the most authoritative experts on respiratory viruses and their impact on human and animal health.
Fouchier started a research group at the Viroscience department of Erasmus MC Rotterdam to study the molecular biology and evolution of flu viruses. With his team, he discovered and characterized several newly emerging respiratory viruses, including several coronaviruses and a new bird flu virus.
As a professor of molecular virology at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, Fouchier studies how viruses evolve and can become pathogenic, change hosts, become airborne and escape host immunity. He always translates his findings into applications for public and animal health. As managing director of the National Influenza Center, he improved methods for choosing the best possible flu vaccine each year. In 1998 he launched a Dutch bird flu surveillance network, which is one of the best and longest running programs in the world.
Fouchier involved many young researchers in all his initiatives. He supervised many PhD
students and students; eight (former) team members started an independent research group and became professors themselves.