Erasmus MC Department of Viroscience, Netherlands
Professor Marion Koopmans, DVM, PhD, is an internationally renowned virologist, whose lifelong commitment to excellence in research resulted in, and continues to effect, many breakthroughs in the field of virology.
She was PI of COMPARE, a large H2020 funded project (20 MEuro), exploring the potential uses of next generation sequencing techniques for outbreak detection and tracking (www.compare-europe.eu), is co-PI of PREPARE, a pan-European network for rapid and large-scale European clinical research in response to infectious disease outbreaks with epidemic potential (www.prepare-europe.eu), and PI of VEO, a large H2020 funded (16Meuro) project aiming to create a Versatile Emerging infectious disease Observatory for the generation and distribution of high-quality actionable information for evidence-based early warning, risk assessment and monitoring of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) (https://www.veo-europe.eu). These are but a few among many other projects designed to make an impact and develop practical applications for disease emergence, surveillance, early detection, and treatment (vaccines). The collaborative efforts of Marion Koopmans and partners from other Dutch institutes led to the establishment of the Netherland Centre for One Health (NCOH) of which she is the scientific director.
She is expert advisor for the WHO on foodborne diseases and emerging disease outbreaks, serves as expert on the WHO emergency committee on MERS, the One Health High Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP), and the FAO committees on MERS and Ebola. She is director of a WHO collaborating centre for emerging viral diseases and a driving force of the scientific advisory group for the WHO R&D Blueprint for action to prevent epidemics by fast-tracking the availability of effective tests, vaccines and medicines. She is head of the designated National Reference Laboratory for high threat viral pathogens for the European Commission.
Her work has had a major impact on the quality of life many people. By helping to understand why virus outbreaks occur, and how they transmit, preventive measures can be taken and treatment provided. The emergency response to the 2014-2016 Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, where local volunteers were trained to operate field laboratories under supervision of Marion Koopmans, contributing to the long-term local capacity building, is but one example. She was also the first to link Zika virus infection to miscarriage, a finding that has had a direct effect on treatment and prevention of this infection for pregnant women.
Over the years, she supervised many PhD students and currently has 12 PhD students under her supervision. Also, she also supervises 7 post-docs directly, who work with her on various national and international projects. Last year, she was awarded the Machiavelli Award because of her relentless efforts to make science accessible to the public.