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About us Practical matters How to find us prof. dr. H.G. (Rina) Knoeff

prof. dr. H.G. (Rina) Knoeff

Aletta Jacobs Chair of Health and Humanities

I hold an MA degree in Culture and Science Studies from Maastricht University (1996) and a PhD in History from Cambridge University (2000). As part of my degree in Maastricht I partook in the MPhil programme in History of Medicine at Cambridge University. My MA thesis on the seventeenth-century English physician Jonathan Goddard was awarded the research prize of the Maastricht faculty of Arts and Sciences. At Cambridge I studied at Darwin College and the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. My PhD research on the chemistry for medicine of Dutch medical teacher Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738) was funded by scholarships from the Wellcome Trust, the VSB Foundation and several small funding bodies in the Netherlands and the UK.

I have worked at the University of Groningen since 2012, first as assistant and associate professor and from 2021 as full professor of Health and Humanities at the department of early modern history. Prior to working at Groningen I worked as a postdoc at Maastricht University on the NWO project 'The Mediated Body' (2001-2005) followed by an NWO funded research position on the Leiden academical collections, at Leiden University (2005-2012).

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has funded most of my research. In Leiden I was Principal Investigator (PI) of the research project ‘Cultures of Collecting: The Leiden Anatomical Collections in Context’ (NWO, Free Competition grant). In Groningen I was awarded a prestigious NWO Vidi grant for the project ‘Vital Matters: Boerhaave’s Chemico- Medical Legacy and Dutch Enlightenment Culture’. As leader of both projects I have supervised research assistants, PhD students and postdocs. Most recently, my research has focused on Histories of Healthy Ageing.

I am director of the Groningen Centre for Health and Humanities at the Faculty of Arts ( and member of the Scientific Steering Committee of t the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health. In both organisations I work towards setting up interdisciplinary cooperations with partners in- and outside the university. An important question in my work is how we can make medical history relevant for today's questions related to healthy living. 

Last modified:20 March 2023 3.37 p.m.