Universiteit Leiden

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Full appointment for Roeland Merks at mathematics and biology

As of 1 July, Professor of Mathematical Biology Roeland Merks has got a full appointment at Leiden University. Before this expansion, he worked one day a week at the Mathematical Institute (MI). Merks will work half of his full appointment at the MI and the other half at the Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL).

Dream job

‘As a mathematical biologist I explore biological questions with mathematical methods’, Merks explains. ‘That works best when I work at the IBL, so that we can answer questions that really contribute to biology, and experimentally test our new insights. In the most interesting cases, novel mathematical tools and insights are so the embedding within mathematics is crucial.   This appointment at both the mathematics and biology institutes puts me in close contact with students and researchers from both fields. For me, this truly is a dream job.’

1.5 million for leaky blood vessels

Merks, formerly working at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam, earlier this year received a Vici grant of 1.5 million to tackle leaky blood vessels. With this grant, Merks will work with both mathematicians and experimental biologists. ‘In this way I hope to contribute to making biology more quantitative. In biological research dynamical modeling has become practically indispensible. I hope to contribute to the education in modelling to students in biology and mathematics, with an overall goal of training them in interdisciplinary research. I already try to achieve this with my interdisciplinary course Multiscale Mathematical Biology. That course is taken by biologists and mathematicians, but also by students from other fields such as biopharmaceutical sciences and physics.’

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