The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences has added 17 new members, including three KNCV members.

Below are the new Academy members who will be officially installed on 30 September.

Gijsje Koenderink (KNCV member)

Professor of Biological Soft Matter Physics at Delft University of Technology

Gijsje Koenderink specialises in the physics of living cells and tissues. She unites the fields of physics, chemistry, materials science and biology in her research in order to investigate the role of mechanical forces on cells and tissues. Her aim is to understand how cells and tissues can combine mechanical strength with the ability to actively change shape. A fundamental understanding of these mechanisms may lead to new insights about the causes of cancer, fibrosis and other diseases. Koenderink is also a pioneer in synthetic cell biology, a field in which the aim is to build a fully functional cell from non-living parts. In the Dutch Research Council’s Gravitation Programme BaSyC - Building a Synthetic Cell, she is working to construct artificial membranes that will grow and divide on their own.

Floris Rutjes (KNCV member)

Professor of Organic Chemistry at Radboud University Nijmegen

Chemist Floris Rutjes specialises in the synthesis of organic molecules. He has developed new, efficient and sustainable synthesis methods by using and combining new catalysts and enzymes. Thanks to these methods, for example, the production of complex drugs can be cleaner, more efficient and less expensive. Synthesis often proceeds in stages, with the products needing to be separated and purified between stages. Rutjes was also among the first to work on developing micro-reactors, i.e. tiny chemical reaction vessels that combine the various stages into a single system. Rutjes holds more than 25 patents and is a founding partner in four companies.

Berend Smit (KNCV member)

Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Berend Smit has developed novel molecular simulation techniques for key chemical processes involving nanoporous materials. Understanding and simulating nanoporous materials requires a knowledge of the absorption and transport properties of the molecules that make up such materials. It had proved difficult if not impossible to calculate these properties until Smit developed an entirely novel set of simulation methods. His research has improved our understanding of nonporous materials and made their effective design possible. His findings are of relevance in such applications as carbon capture and other chemical technologies of vital importance to the climate.

Caroline Slomp (member KNCV section Environmental Chemistry)

Professor of Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry at Radboud University Nijmegen and professor of Marine Biogeochemistry at Utrecht University

Caroline Slomp studies the biogeochemistry and microbiology in marine ecosystems and the cycles of elements that are important for life in aquatic ecosystems, including carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and trace metals. Her research combines field work at sea, laboratory work, and computer simulations. She has broken new ground in her research on biogeochemical processes in oxygen-deficient marine environments such as the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and Lake Grevelingen. For example, rotting organic matter produces the powerful greenhouse gas methane. Slomp is studying how methane is also removed by microbes. Methane that escapes to the atmosphere plays a major role in climate change, which in turn affects the oceans. Research such as Slomp’s is important in that it can help us protect or restore marine ecosystems and understand and manage climate change.

You can find all new members on the original press release of the KNAW.