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Niko Tinbergen chair for Prof. dr. Serge Daan (2003)

Prof. dr. S. Daan

Prof. dr. Serge Daan (1940-2018) was an inspiring biologist with a broad interest in science. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was knighted in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands. He was awarded several prizes and awards, including the prestigious International Prize for Biology, which he received from the Emperor of Japan. His publications were cited over 15,000 times and include seminal work in chronobiology, sleep research, psychiatry, physiology, ecology and behavioural biology. The ‘Two Process Model’ of human sleep regulation he developed with Alex Borbély and Domien Beersma still inspires many sleep researchers all over the world.

Bible of Chronobiology

Daan studied Biology at the University of Amsterdam, received his PhD Cum Laude on hibernation and circadian rhythms in 1973. As a post-doc he worked with two founders of Chronobiology: Jürgen Aschoff and Colin Pittendrigh. With Aschoff he published influential work on latitudinal adaptation of circadian entrainment in birds and mammals. With Pittendrigh he published a series of 5 classic papers, often referred to as ‘the Bible of Chronobiology’.

Niko Tinbergen chair

In 1975, he moved to the University of Groningen, where he was appointed in the Animal Ecology group of Prof. Drent. Serge his work became more eco-physiologically oriented by focusing on kestrel-vole interactions in relation to energy expenditure. In 1996, Daan became Professor of Behavioural Biology and in 2003 he was awarded with the endowed Niko Tinbergen Chair in Behavioural Biology. Niko Tinbergen was a Dutch biologist and ornithologist. In 1973 he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He is one of the founders of modern study of animal behaviour.

Last publication

He was a member and chair of several committees of the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO), chair of the Dutch Society of Behavioural Biology, and founded the Centre of Timing Research in the Netherlands. In 2001 he became Vice-Dean and later Dean of the Groningen Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (now named Faculty of Science and Engineering), where he was instrumental in implementing the tenure track system and the Rosalind Franklin fellowship program for women at the University of Groningen. He stayed active in the field after retirement and was deeply moved when he received his last publication, the biography of Jürgen Aschoff – Die Innere Uhr des Menschen, two months before he died.

Last modified:05 December 2018 1.25 p.m.
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