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035 - Dirkje Postma appointed KNAW Academy Professor

21 March 2007

Prof. D.S. Postma has been awarded an Academy Professorship by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The decision was announced by the KNAW on 21 March 2007 . Prof. Postma is Professor of Pathophysiology of Breathing, particularly Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases at the University of Groningen and the University Medical Center Groningen .

The Academy Professors Programme was instituted in 2002. Every year, the KNAW appoints several top-level professors as Academy Professors for a period of five years. They are released by their universities from administrative obligations so that they can devote themselves full-time to innovative research and the supervision of young researchers. The KNAW has a budget of EUR 1M available for each Academy Professor.

Best in the world

Prof. Postma (Nij Beets, 1951) is one of the world’s top researchers in the field of asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysemia). She is very highly regarded internationally and has received many prizes, invitations to speak at congresses and advisory positions in recognition of her research. In 2000 she was awarded the prestigious NWO Spinoza Prize.

Her research is also supported by the Netherlands Asthma Foundation. In 1993 she was appointed to an endowed chair by this foundation. In 1998 this was converted into a regular professorship. Dirkje Postma studied Medicine at the University of Groningen . In 1984 she gained her PhD with a thesis entitled ‘Reversibility of chronic airflow obstruction’.

From the KNAW report

According to the KNAW, Postma’s research into the pulmonary diseases asthma and COPD covers a very broad range, having chosen a number of different areas to study and has examined each of these in great detail and in a highly original manner. Both her clinical work and her fundamental research are of an exceptionally high level. According to the jury, Postma has ‘exhibited an exceptional ability to relate the physical conditions of patients [with asthma and COPD] to their likely genetic modifications.’ Her description of asthma, based on genetic research, is regarded as an important medical breakthrough. Postma has trained a large number of people to continue the research into the causes and treatment of the chronic pulmonary diseases asthma and COPD.

Note for the press

For more information:

Joost Wessels, Public Affairs Department, UMCG, tel.: (050) 361 4464 or (050) 361 2200, e-mail:

Jos Speekman, Communication Office, RUG, tel.: (050) 363 5480 of (050) 363 5445/5446, e-mail:

Last modified:30 November 2017 3.15 p.m.
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