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Ronald Plasterk

Ronald PlasterkMinister of Education, Culture and Science

Ronald Hans Anton (Ronald) Plasterk was born in The Hague on 12 April 1957.

After completing his secondary education he briefly studied economics at the University of Amsterdam and then biology at the University of Leiden, where he graduated in 1981. In 1984, he was awarded a doctorate in mathematics and natural sciences from the University of Leiden for his thesis ‘Inversion of the G segment of bacteriophage Mu, analysis of a genetic switch’. He then went on to do postdoctoral training at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

From 1987 to 2000 Mr Plasterk headed a research group at the Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital in Amsterdam. In 2000 he was appointed director of the Hubrecht Laboratory/Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology in Utrecht. From 1993 to 1997 Mr Plasterk occupied an endowed chair in molecular biology at the VU University, Amsterdam. He was then appointed professor of molecular genetics at the medical faculty of the University of Amsterdam. In 2000 he was appointed professor of developmental genetics at the Academic Biomedical Centre of the University of Utrecht. Mr Plasterk is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Dutch Society of Sciences and Humanities. He has been a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation, the Board of Governors of the Wellcome Trust and the Standing Committee on Genetics of the Dutch Health Council. He was also an adviser to the National Convention. He has had a regular column in the Volkskrant, a Dutch broadsheet, and has featured in the current events programme Buitenhof.

On 22 February 2007 Mr Plasterk was appointed Minister of Education, Culture and Science in the fourth Balkenende government. Mr Plasterk is a member of the Labour Party (PvdA).

See M-2009 Programme, Sunday, 7 June 2009