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Eight professors receive double appointment simultaneously

Delft, Nov. 15th, 2022 – Today, eight professors were simultaneously inaugurated as ‘Medical Delta professors’ at Leiden University, LUMC, TU Delft, Erasmus University and/or Erasmus MC. With an appointment of two or more of these five academic institutions, they combine technology and healthcare in their professorships.

Medical Delta is a partnership between TU Delft, Erasmus MC, Erasmus University, LUMC and Leiden University and four universities of applied sciences in Zuid-Holland and aims to realise technological solutions for sustainable healthcare.

To keep healthcare future-proof, a different approach is needed. Technological innovations can contribute to this, but this requires cross-disciplinary cooperation and a proper embedding of innovations in (healthcare) practice. The eight new Medical Delta professors actively seek this cooperation for their research, for example in the field of better diagnostics for cancer, fundamental research into combatting viral infections or a more targeted treatment of osteoarthritis. Their inauguration is a recognition of their merits and also an encouragement to act as ambassadors for further cooperation in the field of health & technology.

The inauguration took place during the Medical Delta Conference, which focused on the theme Technology: The Gamechanger for Health – like the Leiden City of Science theme for that day: ‘gamechangers’. In Hooglandse Kerk in Leiden, visitors could experience how technology can be a ‘gamechanger’ for scientific research and healthcare. Healthcare technology companies from Zuid-Holland let visitors experience how their innovation is changing healthcare, in part thanks to further developments through one of the Medical Delta Living Labs.

Cooperation essential for healthcare transition

‘Whether it’s fundamental research covering multiple scientific disciplines or embedding promising innovations in healthcare practice: it can’t happen without good cooperation,’ says Prof. Frank Willem Jansen, chair of Medical Delta. ‘Bringing the right parties together, listening carefully and asking thorough questions, and actively searching for common goals and interests: it is a job in itself. In addition, it takes courage to tread paths unknown to you. The eight new Medical Delta professors have all proven themselves in this field. Their appointment helps them further in the pioneering role they are already taking and, in this, contributes to the healthcare transition that lies ahead.’

Top scientists

Women are still underrepresented at the top of academia, and so too as Medical Delta professors. That the eight new appointments are all female professors is, says Jansen, recognition of the work and research done by female scientists within Medical Delta. ‘They were nominated some time ago and are all top scientists. The “gamechangers” theme was a great opportunity for us to significantly increase the number of female Medical Delta professors. Medical Delta professors are the figureheads of our partnership. We hope this will inspire young female scientists and university boards to increase the number of female scientists at the top.’

Interdisciplinary research

Each year Medical Delta annually appoints ‘Medical Delta professors’. These professors are appointed to posts at two or more of the five affiliated academic institutions and serve on the partnership’s Scientific Council. There are currently 32 Medical Delta professors. They conduct interdisciplinary research at the interface of technology and health care and are ambassadors for cooperation in the field of health & technology.

The eight Medical Delta professors and their research

Ariane Briegel (Leiden University, TU Delft) – research into the interaction between bacteria and their human host during infection in order to develop better treatment methods for infectious diseases.

Lioe-Fee de Geus-Oei (LUMC, TU Delft) – research into customised cancer therapy so that molecular imaging techniques can be used to choose the most effective treatment for each patient.

Eline Slagboom (LUMC, TU Delft) – research into computational methods to improve our understanding of factors that increase or decrease the risk of age-related diseases, and ultimately promote healthy ageing (part of the METABODELTA programme: Metabolomics for clinical advances in the Medical Delta).

Maaike Kleinsmann (TU Delft, LUMC) – research into the effective use of remote patient management platforms through which patients and healthcare providers exchange data remotely (part of the Medical Delta Cardiac Arrhythmia Lab and Healthy Society programmes).

Maureen Rutten-van Mölken (Erasmus Universiteit, LUMC, TU Delft) – research into the affordability of digital medical technology and its alignment with market needs and healthcare practice (part of the Medical Delta’s Journey from Prototype to Payment programme).

Sita Bierma-Zeinstra (Erasmus MC, TU Delft) – research into earlier treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis by optimising joint loading and joint growth, with the aid of biomechanical models (part of the Medical Delta Improving Mobility with Technology programme).

Gijsje Koenderink (TU Delft, Erasmus MC) – research into material properties of human cells and tissues to better understand their functioning and detect any abnormalities.

Marion Smits (Erasmus MC, TU Delft) - research into brain tumour diagnosis based on MRI and image analysis methods, so that brain surgery is no longer needed for this (part of the HollandPTC Medical Delta programme on HTA value proposition and the Medical Delta Cancer Diagnostics 3.0: Big Data Science or in & ex vivo Imaging programmes).

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