Presentation of the 7th International Steven Hoogendijk Award 2016

On Friday, September 23, 2016, the International Steven Hoogendijk Award will be presented for the 7th time by our Praeses Magnificus Burg. Aboutaleb awarded to Prof.dr. Richard Durbin, FRS for his many contributions to bioinformatics.

The morning seminar in the Science Center of TU Delt was extremely fascinating with lectures by Dr. Thomas Abeel, Dr. Ahya Anvar, Prof. Roeland van Ham and Richard Durbin (see here for the program) and although the number students was unfortunately limited, Richard Durbin stated that he found the exchange of ideas during the lunch discussion very stimulating.

The afternoon program at the City Hall

During the afternoon program at the town hall, Prof. Jaap Heringa gave an introduction to the young field: bioinformatics, after which the chairman of the jury: Prof. Marcel Reinders explained the many contributions that Richard Durbin has made to this field, the most famous of which is that in the race for the Human Genome, Prof. Durbin wrote/invented the gene recognition algorithms -in the academic team-. But it didn’t stop there and today the entire world uses databases he designed and algorithms he and his team of researchers at the Welcome Sanger Institute determined. And most recently, Prof. Durbin is involved in how the human genome changes and, among other things, in mapping human migration flows in pre- and more recent history.

When presenting the medal to Prof. Durbin, our Praeses Magnificus compared his work as mayor with that of Prof. Durbin and that he is continuously looking for the ‘DNA’ of Rotterdam and how it is subject to change due to development and immigration.

Prof. Richard Durbin

After receiving the medal, Richard Durbin gave an inspiring speech about what he sees as the possibilities ahead of this young field. Afterwards, these ideas were further discussed while enjoying a snack and a drink.

And in the evening at dinner our President Director Han Vrijling reiterates that the BGPW has a long tradition when it comes to applying technology for: society with his story about our member and later consultant: Mr. Frederick William Conrad who played a major role in the creation of the Suez Canal (here). We are particularly pleased that Richard Durbin has become a corresponding member.