Considerans Gouden medaille 2018
In my role as President of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society, it is a pleasure and honour for me to present the winner of the KNCV Gold Medal 2018. This prestigious prize is awarded annually to researchers who have distinguished themselves in one of the chemical sciences. Winning the KNCV Gold Medal is restricted to researchers who have not yet reached the age of 40 and who are expected to become global leaders in their scientific area of expertise.
This year we received no less than 15 nominations for the KNCV Gold Medal. After thoughtful deliberations the committee unanimously came to the conclusion that the KNCV GOLD MEDAL 2018 should go to: Dr. Pascal Jonkheijm. The commission was highly impressed by the exciting scientific results you obtained at every stage of your career, and the progress you have made since you were appointed as assistant-professor at the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Twente.
I will highlight a few remarks from the committee report to make clear why they chose you as the winner of this year’s Gold Medal.
Pascal, you are an outstanding chemist who effortlessly seems to combine fundamental and applied research at the interface of chemistry and biology. Your field of expertise focuses on the development of novel supramolecular techniques to regulate and study cellular processes at interfaces and to use these insights to develop novel materials and diagnostic tools. This is an extremely fascinating, but also rather complex field of expertise, in which it is difficult to actually design and develop tangible and workable methods for biology. And it is precisely in this area that you have made great strides.
You made your first scientific contributions as a master student in the group of Prof Bert Meijer at Eindhoven University of Technology, who later also became your PhD-thesis supervisor. In 2005, you received your PhD-degree, based on outstanding science in the self-assembly of conjugated materials. This was underlined not only by a large number of publications (including Science and JACS), but also by the distinction cum laude.
You then joined the group of Prof Herbert Waldmann at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund as a post-doc to move to the field of chemical biology. There, you independently set up a research line aimed at protein immobilization, in which you developed both the bio-orthogonal chemistry and the bionanotechnological applications.
Then in 2008, you moved to the University of Twente; first as assistant-professor, but currently as adjunct professor at the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, where you run your own research group. The research that you have set up is very successful and an example par excellence for the strength and diversity of chemistry. It is a wonderful integration of conceptual supramolecular thinking and chemical biology.
You have received several prestigious grants, including a Humboldt Fellowship, a VENI- and VIDI-grant, an ERC Starting Grant and no less than three ERC Proof of Concept grants. The number of 140 scientific papers and >8000 citations are impressive, giving him an H-index of 41, which is really outstanding for a relatively young chemist.
Pascal is considered an international frontrunner in the field of interfaces between supramolecular, self-assembling and biological systems. Your work is the basis for many (international) collaborations and new research directions among fellow chemists, materials and cell biological groups. In addition to your academic research activities, you founded in 2016 the start-up company Lipocoat, which is engaged in marketing bio-inspired coatings for healthcare applications.
Considering these achievements, Pascal Jonkheijm is an excellent winner of het KNCV Gold Medal 2018. Besides being an enthusiastic teacher and pleasant personality, Pascal is a figurehead for chemistry with a bright future ahead. He is a young, very successful chemist who independently develops a new field of molecular sciences in the Netherlands, who will certainly play a prominent senior role in chemistry in the Netherlands and beyond. Pascal, please come forward to receive our congratulations, the Gold Medal and of course a warm applause from all of us.