John van der Oost, personal professor of Microbiology, has been awarded a Spinoza Prize by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). This is the highest academic distinction in the Netherlands.
© Rafaël Philippinen, NWO
Van der Oost received the prize – 2.5 million euros – for his outstanding, ground-breaking and inspiring work on the CRISPR-Cas technology with which scientists and companies can remove, add and change genes with great precision, explains the NWO. He is one of the pioneers of this gene editing.
NWO has been awarding the Spinoza Prize since 1995. Previous Wageningen winners are aquatic ecologist Marten Scheffer, entomologist Marcel Dicke, and microbiologist Willem de Vos.
The other three Spinoza Prizes of 2018 went to Anna Akhmanova, professor of Cellular Dynamics in Utrecht, Marileen Dogterom, professor of Bionanoscience in Delft, and Carsten de Dreu, professor of Social and Organizational Psychology in Leiden.
NWO also awarded a new prize, the Stevin Prize for scientists whose work has substantial social impact. This went to terrorism expert Beatrice de Graaf, professor of International and Political History at Utrecht, and to Marion Koopmans, professor of Virology at Rotterdam and an expert on zoonoses.