Board of Recommendation

The Board of Recommendation advices the committee on speakers, sponsors and general affairs. The board consists of eleven members, either related to the city or university of Leiden or Delft, or with a profession in the Life Sciences.


Prof. dr. ir. T.H.J.J. van der Hagen – Rector Magnificus, TU Delft

Tim van der Hagen studied Applied Physics at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He obtained his PhD at the TU Delft in 1989 on monitoring boiling water reactors. He has been Full Professor of Reactor Physics since 1999 and was the director of the Reactor Institute Delft for seven years. In 2010 he became the dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences. Tim was a member of numeral important supervisory boards like the national Advisory council for science, technology and innovation (AWTI), Holland Particle Therapy Centre Holland (PTC) and the Energieonderzoek Centrum Nederland (ECN). In January 2018 Tim was appointed Rector Magnificus of the TU Delft which he combines with chairing the Executive Board.


Prof. dr. ir. H. Bijl – Rector Magnificus, Leiden University

Hester Bijl is Rector Magnificus of Leiden University. She holds a Master’s degree in Technical Applied Mathematics from the TU Delft and also received her PhD there in 1999. Furthermore, she holds a MSc in English Language and Literature from Leiden University. From 1999 until 2016, Hester worked at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the TU Delft where she became Full Professor and where she was Dean of the faculty. Then in 2016, she moved to Leiden University to become Vice Rector Magnificus and Full Professor at the Mathematical Institute. In addition she is a member of several supervisory boards of organisations such as TNO, PLNT and Leiden Bio Science Park. In 2021 Hester took over from Carel Stolker as the first female Rector Magnificus of Leiden University.


Peter van der Velden – Mayor of Leiden


Prof. dr. Marcellus Ubbink – Scientific Director Leiden Institute of Chemistry

Marcellus Ubbink studied Biology at Utrecht University. In 1994 he received his PhD from Leiden University. After working at Cambridge University as a post-doc, he returned to Leiden in 1997. Since 2010, he is a Full Professor in Protein Chemistry. He was Program Director of the bachelor Life Science and Technology from 2019 to 2022, when he became the scientific director of the Leiden Institute of Chemistry. His research interests are in structure, dynamics, activity and evolution of enzymes.


Dr. Marco van Eijk – Programme Director Life Science & Technology

I am Marco van Eijk, known primarily as a lecturer among the students of the Life Science & Technology (LST) program. For the past year and a half, I have been the program director of the LST bachelor’s degree. After completing my studies in Medical Biology at Utrecht University, I successfully conducted doctoral research at the Department of Cell Biology and Histology at the University of Amsterdam. During my doctoral research, I studied the regulation of apoptosis in germinal center B cells isolated from tonsils. After a brief stint at two companies, I pursued research in Medical Biochemistry at the AMC, focusing more on lysosomes and how these organelles deal with an excess of fats, with an emphasis on sphingolipids. The disrupted macrophage lysosome function in diseases is central to my research. This includes genetic defects occurring in lysosomal storage diseases, as well as acquired metabolic diseases such as obesity and atherosclerosis. Since 2015, I have been working at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry, and since 2018, I have been officially appointed as a lecturer.


Prof. dr. ir. Jack Pronk – Professor in Industrial Microbiology; Head of Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology; Winner Stevin Prize 2019

Jack Pronk (1963) is professor in Industrial Microbiology and Head of the Department of Biotechnology at TU Delft. His research aims to understand and improve microbial performance in industrial processes and integrates quantitative physiology, genomics, synthetic biology and evolutionary engineering.  Jack (co-)authored 300 scientific publications and is inventor on 28 patent applications. Several metabolic engineering inventions from Jack and his close colleagues at TU Delft are applied at industrial scale. He loves to teach and considers the 1st-year Biotechnology course in the LST-BSc programme an annual highlight in his academic year. A fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science (KNAW) and Stevin Prize laureate, Jack is especially proud of his honorary membership of LIFE.


Prof. dr. ir. Pascale Daran-Lapujade – Full professor, Delft University of Technology


Prof. dr. Sander van Kasteren – Professor Molecular Immunology, Leiden University

Dr. Sander van Kasteren is assistant professor in the field of chemical immunology. He received his Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh in 2001, before moving to Oxford for his PhD on the chemical modification of proteins for immune diagnostics. In 2012, Sander started his own group, doing research at the interface of chemistry and immunology. Their current interests are in the development of new approaches to study degradative events in the immune system based on bioorthogonal chemistry. He uses his background in organic synthesis and dendritic cell biology to study and manipulate the uptake and routing of antigen in dendritic cells.


Dr. Marta Artola  – Assistant professor, Universiteit Leiden

Marta Artola received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in 2014 from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) in Spain with Cum Laude. After two research stays at Technische Universität München (TUM, Germany) and The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, she moved to the BIOSYN at Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC, Leiden University) as a postdoctoral researcher. During her postdoc, she developed conformational inhibitors and activity-based probes for diverse glycosidases. In 2019, Marta was appointed as an assistant professor at the Medical Biochemistry Department at LIC where she runs her independent research group, combining organic chemistry, chemical biology, and biochemistry. Her aim is to develop inhibitor libraries, protein degraders and activity-based probes for carbohydrate processing enzymes to address unmet medical needs in terms of target validation, diagnostics, as well as drug discovery.


Dr. Ir. Charlotte Koster – Postdoc researcher, Wageningen University & Research

Charlotte Koster holds a MSc. degree in Life Science & Technology from Delft University of Technology, and some may even recognize her as president of the 17th board of S.A. LIFE. Charlotte obtained her PhD degree at the Industrial Microbiology group of TU Delft in 2023, where she performed her research within the national Building a Synthetic Cell (BaSyC) consortium and focused on studying the minimal yeast mitochondrial genome and transcriptome as an inspiration for designing synthetic cells. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Bacterial Genetics group of the laboratory of Microbiology at Wageningen University & Research, studying the genetic factors that govern protein expression levels. Charlotte is also a board member of the Dutch national synthetic biology association SynBioNL.


Esther Peters – Director Leiden Bio Science Park

Esther Peters is director of Leiden Bio Science Park, the largest Life Science & Health campus of the Netherlands and the nr. 8 Bio Science campus of the world. With over 425 organizations and a rich ecosystem of education (MBO, HBO, WO), research (University Leiden, LUMC, TNO, Naturalis) and entrepreneurship (from start-up, to scale-up to corporates such as Johnson & Johnson and Brystol Meyers Squibb) Leiden Bio Science Park is working with more than 22.000 professionals in an international setting on extending and improving lives. Esther Peters is also chair of the supervisory board of JES Rijnland en Vice chair of the supervisory board of ActiVite. In earlier positions she worked as director at NL Space Campus and for companies such as Achmea and VNU business publications. She started her career as lawyer at Allen & Overy and taught at University of Utrecht.