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Joke Bouwstra is the first woman to receive the Dr Saal van Zwanenberg Honorary Prize: 'Wonderful to be in a line of distinguished scientists'

Emeritus professor Joke Bouwstra (LACDR) will receive this year's Dr Saal van Zwanenberg Ereprijs: a tribute to her years of fundamental research on the skin and the transport of drugs through the skin. This is the first time the prize has gone to a woman.

Bouwstra reacted in disbelief when she heard the news. 'I think it is great that I am receiving this honorary award, together with two colleagues (Prof Dr W. Hennink of Utrecht University and Prof Dr H.W. Frijlink of the University of Groningen).' She sees the award as a great boost for her field. 'It is wonderful to be in the list of leading Dutch scientists in the field of drug research.'

Unique research into skin barrier function

In recent years, Bouwstra conducted unique research in the field of skin barrier function, combining clinical studies with fundamental research on model systems. In doing so, she bridged the gap between chemistry, pharmaceutical sciences and medicine. Thus, she used a wide range of techniques to investigate the barrier function of the skin at the molecular level.

Jury full of praise for Bouwstra

The jury praised Bouwstra for her years of research. 'The jury was very impressed by Professor Bouwstra's consistent years of fundamental research on the skin itself and the subsequent work on the transport of drugs through the skin. She has shown that you first have to have a good understanding of exactly what a drug delivery barrier consists of, before you can also purposefully enable that delivery and apply it in clinical studies'.

First woman to win a special prize again

This is not the first time that Bouwstra is the first woman to receive a special prize. She was previously awarded the Simon Stevin Meester Ereprijs and the Kydonieus Foundation Award. With the Dr Saal van Zwanenberg Ereprijs for a scientist, she can add another award to this list. A cash prize of 25,000 euros is attached to the prize for the three laureates.

Joke Bouwstra received the award from Prof Ad IJzerman (left) and Prof Douwe Breimer. Photo: Wardie Hellendoorn
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