Pascal Jonkheijm wins the 2018 KNCV Gold Medal

“Jonkheijm effortlessly combines fundamental and applied research on the border between biology and chemistry”

23 August 2018

Professor Pascal Jonkheijm has been awarded the 2018 KNCV Gold Medal. “Jonkheijm is a gifted chemical researcher who effortlessly combines fundamental and applied research on the border between chemistry and biology,” acclaims the jury chairman Hermen Overkleeft. This prize, the most prestigious distinction that can be given for research chemistry in the Netherlands, will be conferred on 4 December 2018 during the CHAINS chemistry conference in Veldhoven.

Pascal Jonkheijm is Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Twente. His work links the domains of supramolecular chemistry and cell biology, and employs an engineering approach to design molecules and materials for fundamental research and use in bio-nanotechnology. “This is a very exciting, but extremely complex research field, in which it is difficult to design and develop methods that are tangible and of practical use for biology,” says Hermen Overkleeft, jury chairman of the 2018 Gold Medal Committee. “And Jonkheijm has made great leaps in precisely this area.”


After gaining his PhD at the Technical University of Eindhoven under the supervision of Professor Bert Meijer, Jonkheijm made the move to chemical biology, taking up a post-doctorate position at the Max Planck Institute for molecular physiology in Dortmund. Working in Herbert Waldmann’s group, Jonkheijm set up a research line on protein immobilization by himself, developing both its bio-orthogonal chemistry and its bio-nanotechnological applications. In 2008, he moved to the University of Twente and founded his own research group. Jonkheijm has been given numerous prestigious awards, including a Humboldt Fellowship, both a Veni and a Vidi grant, and no fewer than three ERC Proof-of-Concept subsidies.


Jonkheijm is an international trailblazer in the field of interfaces between supramolecular, self-assembling systems and biological systems. His work is extensively cited and has formed the basis for numerous international collaborative projects and new research directions amongst fellow chemists, materials scientists and cell biology groups, as is also attested by an impressive list of grants and publications. Alongside his research activities, Jonkheijm has also launched a start-up, Lipocoat, to market his bio-inspired coatings in healthcare applications. “Jonkheijm is a figurehead in chemistry. He is a young, very successful chemist who is independently developing a new area in molecular science in the Netherlands, and who will certainly be playing a prominent role in chemistry in the Netherlands and further afield,” notes Overkleeft.

Gold Medal

The annual KNCV Gold Medal is the most prestigious prize that can be conferred in the Netherlands, and is awarded to researchers who have distinguished themselves for investigative work in chemistry in the widest sense. Candidates must be less than forty years of age, and hold the promise of becoming leaders in their profession. The Gold Medal has been awarded to the greatest talents in Dutch chemistry every year since 1963.

The official conferral of this prestigious prize will take place during CHAINS 2018, 3 – 5 December 2018.


Source: KNCV