TU/e appoints Jan van Hest as head of new research group

TU/e has appointed prof.dr.ir. Jan van Hest (1968) as professor and head of the new Bio-organic chemistry research group. This creates a combined chair across two departments of the university: Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. Van Hest joins TU/e from Radboud University, Nijmegen. His appointment and new role mean an intensification of the collaboration between TU/e and Radboud University.

Van Hest’s research focuses on the design and synthesis if bio-inspired peptide-based materials and the development of conjugation methods for the preparation of biohybrid systems. He also works on compartmentalizing strategies for the development of medicine transport systems and synthetic vaccines, and adaptive nano- and microcompartments that simulate living cells.

New chemistry
The new Bio-Organic Chemistry research group at TU/e works on education and research at the cutting edge of (polymer) chemistry and biomedicine. The objectives of this work include the development of new chemistry such as molecules, materials and techniques. These new disciplines are intended to find applications in biomedical sciences. As professor at TU/e, Van Hest aims to carry out breakthrough work in the fields of artificial and hybrid cells, and scaffolds and carriers for nanomedical applications.

High scientific status
Jan Van Hest enjoys a high scientific status in both his research and educational work. He carried out his PhD research at TU/e under prof.dr. Bert Meijer. He then worked as a researcher at the University of Massachusetts. In 1997 he started work at DSM, first as a researcher and later as group head in the development of new material concepts.

ERC Advanced Grant
In 2000 he was appointed as professor at Radboud University. Jan van Hest received a VICI grant (2010) and ERC Advanced Grant (2016) for his work. He was also a member of the research team that received a Gravitation award (‘zwaartekrachtpremie’) in 2012 at the Research Center for Functional Molecular Systems. 28 PhD candidates have gained their doctorates under his supervision. He has published more than 280 scientific articles and is (co-)inventor of 17 patents and patent applications. He is also the joint founder of the start-ups Encapson, FutureChemistry, Noviosense and Noviotech.

'An excellent step'
TU/e Rector Magnificus Frank Baaijens describes the appointment of Van Hest as significant. “Jan van Hest is a leading international scientist, and a valuable addition to the TU/e research ranks. His work covers an interesting and important new research field, at the cutting edge of disciplines; this principle strongly reflects the ambitions of TU/e.” According to Peter Hilbers, Dean of the Biomedical Engineering department, the appointment of Jan van Hest is an excellent step for TU/e. “His work will raise the research into biomaterials and nanomedicine in the Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering and Chemistry departments at TU/e to an even higher level.”