Inaugural lecture: 'Connecting disciplines advances science and care’
On Friday 9 September, Jeanin van Hooft, Professor of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases, will deliver her inaugural lecture titled: 'The scope of connection'. She emphasises the value of collaboration and connection for scientific research. In addition, she pleads for more diversity; according to Van Hooft, talented people are after all equally divided over gender, religion and origin.
Jeanin van Hooft has been head of the department of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases in the LUMC since 2020. She started in 2003 as assistant physician at the Amsterdam UMC where she studied the treatment of malignant strictures in the digestive tract. 'This can cause the patient to become nauseous, have a swollen abdomen and eventually even vomit faeces,' says Van Hooft. 'In short, a problem that deserves a solution.' Van Hooft and colleagues researched various stents, which are foldable tubes that can be used to reconnect the pinched areas of the digestive tract.
'Finding talented people is the challenge of our time, and they are equally divided between gender, religion and origin. It is the most important capital we have, so let's use it well'
Effect of language
In her oration, Van Hooft not only explores these physical connections in the digestive tract, but also the more abstract connections, such as those between scientific disciplines and between the medical world and society. According to her, the latter is only possible if medical professionals reflect the general population. In other words, more diversity is needed, and that starts with language, Van Hooft believes. 'The chance that people will respond to vacancies is much higher if they are written in a gender-neutral way. Yet many texts are still written in the male form', says the professor. 'As a society, we cannot afford this. Finding talented people is the challenge of our time, and they are equally divided between gender, religion and origin. It is the most important capital we have, so let's use it well.'
Detours to success
According to Van Hooft, connections are also the cornerstones of doing scientific research. 'I refer to connections between institutions, such as the collaboration between the LUMC and the MayoClinic in Florida, but also between disciplines.' For example, Van Hooft and colleagues once made the switch to the pancreas. 'That organ fascinates and inspires me,' says Van Hooft. And so, together with professor and surgeon Mark Besslink, a specific outpatient clinic was set up for pancreatic cysts.
When cysts are found in the pancreas, this often leads to anxiety, both for the patient and the doctor. It remains difficult to assess which cyst really represents a risk. This specific outpatient clinic helps to concentrate knowledge and thus to provide more clarity to both the patient and the referring physician. 'In my career, I have often done research outside my own field, and today I also see our PhD students doing research with a slightly different focus. I am convinced that such a diversion is not a bad thing, according to author John Kay it is even the road to success.'
'In my career, I have often done research outside my own field. I am convinced that such a diversion is not a bad thing.'
Van Hooft concludes her oration with a glance at the future. 'Within the profession of gastroenterologist and liver specialist, connecting is central. This fits in very well with the movement within the medical field where the classic pillars of, for example, surgery and internal medicine are supplemented by horizontal links, such as oncological surgeon. But also, for example, a liver centre where nursing specialists and physician assistants from different disciplines work together with transplant surgeons, hepatologists, abdominal radiologists, interventional radiologists and pathologists to provide the best care for the patient with liver disease.'
The inaugural lecture of Jeanin van Hooft can be followed live from 16:00 on the website of Leiden University.