René Olsthoorn (1964) studied chemistry at Leiden University, and obtained his PhD degree (cum laude) in the group of Dr. J. van Duin in 1996. His thesis "Evolution and structure of RNA phages" was awarded with the C.J.-Kok prize by the Faculty of Science of Leiden University. From 1996 to 2003 he fulfilled many postdoctoral positions, a.o. in the labs of prof. J.J. Bujarski (Northern Illinois University), prof. C.W.A. Pleij (LU) and prof. J.F. Bol (LU), where he worked on RNA viruses of plants. In 2003 he received the first Beijerinck-Premium from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) for his contribution to the field of virology. In the same year, he was awarded a VIDI-grant from NWO to continue his studies on viral RNA structures. Currently, he is a staff member in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry.