the highest Dutch award for chemical top talent under forty years of age. The Gold Medal has been awarded since 1963 by the Royal Dutch Chemical Association (KNCV). In the jury report, Dankers is described as ‘a particularly strong candidate, who stands out because of the strong link between fundamental material chemistry and clinical applicability’.
“I was very surprised to win the price, and I still can’t believe it. It is a great honor for the research group and for me as a person. This award is a great appreciation for the use of controlled chemistry in biomedical applications,” Dankers said in a comment.
Patricia Dankers is professor of Biomedical Materials at Eindhoven University of Technology, at the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS). Her group develops biomaterials for regenerative medicine. These materials are able to reverse damage to organs, such as heart tissue after a heart attack. “In Dankers’ research you can recognize a unique line of her own,” says jury chairman Jurriaan Huskens. “That was an important criterion for awarding this prize.”
Connection to medical practice
‘Dankers has an extremely strong national visibility,’ according to the jury report. For example, she is chair of the Chemistry Round Table, one of the disciplinary advisory committees of NWO. In addition, she was a board member for a long time of the Young Academy, a platform of the KNAW for young researchers from various disciplines. At this moment, she is chair of the TU/e Young Academy of Engineering.
The Gold Medalist also stood out in other ways. ‘Dankers has an impressive CV: she is very active and is involved in various forms of outreach. She collaborates with many scientific disciplines, but also with industry and the medical world. In addition, she has a unique profile with a strong background in chemistry, but also a connection with medical practice,’ states the report.
Professor in Eindhoven since 2017
Dankers studied chemistry at Radboud University in Nijmegen. During her PhD at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the group of Bert Meijer, she combined the fields of biochemistry and supramolecular chemistry.
After defending her thesis in 2006, she worked at the UMC in Groningen, where she and Marja van Luyn laid the foundation for a project to develop a bio-artificial kidney. She successfully completed her second doctoral research in regenerative medicine at the University of Groningen in 2013. After her work at Northwestern University in Chicago, among other things, she was appointed professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology in 2017, within the department of Biomedical Engineering.
Patricia Dankers will be presented with the award in December at the CHAINS chemistry conference. Last year the prize was awarded to TU/e professor Ilja Voets.
The KNCV Gold Medal is awarded annually and is the most important Dutch prize for researchers who have distinguished themselves particularly in the field of chemical research in the broadest sense. Researchers up to forty years are eligible for the award if they are expected to become leaders in their field. The Gold Medal has been awarded to top chemical talent in the Netherlands since 1963.