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Practical matters How to find us prof. dr. L.F.M.H. (Lou) de Leij
University Medical Center Groningen

prof. dr. L.F.M.H. (Lou) de Leij

Professor (emeritus)
Profielfoto van prof. dr. L.F.M.H. (Lou) de Leij
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Lou FMH de Leij (born in Heer/Maastricht in 1950) studied biology/biochemistry in Groningen (specialization in molecular genetics and experimental cytology, graduated cum laude in 1974) and got his PhD (on the thesis: Structure and synthesis of the outer membrane of Escherichia coli. Supervisor: Bernard Witholt) also in Groningen in 1979. After a postdoctoral stay as KWF-fellow at the department of Experimental Cytology (Head: Lou Smets) of the Dutch Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, he returned to Groningen to start a tumor immunology research line within the department of Clinical Immunology (Head: Hauw The). He became appointed as assistant professor in 1986, associated professor in 1992 and full professor (in Medical Biology) in 1994. In 1998 he moved to the department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine (PLM) to start the Section Medical Biology. The Section Medical Biology grew to contain 100-120 persons, managed a number of well-equipped laboratories & facilities (including the central UMCG Flow Cytometry Unit) and initiated/led a number of educational tracks in the field of Life Sciences. The department Pathology and Laboratory Medicine was split and partly renamed to become the department ‘Pathology and Medical Biology’ in 2008. Lou de Leij was Head of the Section Medical Biology from 1998 to 2010.

Lou de Leij was coordinator (together with Sibrand Poppema) of the Institute ‘Transplantation, Immunology and Inflammation’ (as part of the Research School GUIDE) from 1995-1999 and became Director of the KNAW accredited Research School ‘Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration’ (GUIDE, covering about 60% of research in the UMCG at that time as well as the research in the Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science and Engineering) from January 1999 till June 2005. From June 2005 to May 2015, he is Dean of Research of the UMCG and, from May 2009 to January 2020, Dean of the Groningen Graduate Schools.

Lou de Leij was member of the board of the Dutch Society of Immunology (as secretary) from 2003 to 2008; co-founder and member of the Executive Board of the Top Institute Pharma (TIP) from 2006 to 2014; initiator of the participation of RUG/UMCG in the Top Institute Food & Nutrition (TIFN) in 2007 and member of the Supervisory as well as the Executive Board of TIFN (the latter from 2010 to 2015). He is co-founder and member of the Supervisory Board of the IMDI-CoRE ‘Center for Medical Imaging - North East Netherlands’ (CMI-NEN), a collaboration between UT, Siemens and RUG/UMCG from 2011 to 2017; co-founder of the strategic partnership ‘PUSH’ between Siemens and the UMCG in 2014 and chair of the MRA Board of PUSH from 2015 to July 2016.

Main achievements:

  • A broad array of 257 (research) publications as given under ‘publications’. Also on Google Scholar (see: these publications can be found (checked March 2023) leading to a cumulative number of 13887 citations and an h-index of 67.
  • Supervisor of 38 PhD students (18 as first ‘promotor’). Three additional theses were supervised as ‘referent’ (co-promotor).
  • Starting the company MCA Development (together with Sibrand Poppema, Edwin Schwander and Hauw The) in 1986. Director (together with Sibrand Poppema) of the company from 1886-1990. The late Roland Lageveen became CEO of the company in 1990 and the name of the company was changed to IQ Products eventually. IQ Products developed and sold monoclonal antibodies for diagnostic and therapeutic use. The company was declared bankrupt in 2012 because of the high costs of developing therapeutics and was restarted also in 2012 to become a successful company using the same name, but selling diagnostics only. Lou de Leij was shareholder and advisor of the company from 1990-2012.
  • Initiating and coordinating the educational profile ‘Medical Biology’ (Biomedical Science) within the studies 'Biology' and 'Life Sciences & Technology' (together with Bela Bohus, Paul Luiten, Gerard Schuiling and, later, Erik Boddeke). This profile became by far the most popular one for students in biology / life sciences already from the start. Establishing in this track a number of courses in the field of immunology and medical biology.
  • Starting (as director of the research school GUIDE) the master Medical Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2002 and, together with Harry Kampinga and Anke van Trigt, the selective top-master ‘Medical Pharmaceutical Drug Innovation’ in 2003.
  • Co-Founder (together with the late Fokko van der Woude) of the International Graduate School ‘Vascular Medicine’ (IGK-880, from 2004 to 2013). IGK-880 was a collaborative effort of the Medical Faculty Mannheim of the Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg and the research school GUIDE in Groningen.
  • Supervising the research assessment evaluation in 2004 of the six research institutes of the UMCG part of the research school GUIDE according to the SEP for the period 1998-2002. Mean result: ‘very good’ (4.4 on a 1-5 scale).
  • Renewal of the KNAW accreditation of the research school GUIDE as member of the Board for the period 1999-2003 and as director for the period 2004-2009. Establishing and consolidating within the research school a large array of PhD student courses for both science focused and generic skills. 
  • Supervising the research assessment evaluation in 2009/2010 of all UMCG research (research institutes GUIDE/UMCG, BCN-Brain, SHARE and the Kolff Institute) according to the SEP for the period 2003-2008. Mean result: ‘very good’ (4.3 on a 1-5 scale).
  • Establishing the criteria for ‘Principal Investigator’ in the UMCG in 2007. Using these and other criteria a new UMCG policy for ‘research performance/results-based financing’ was started in May 2011. A further update of this policy was released in 2015.   
  • Restructuring of the research support organization in the UMCG leading to the start of the Graduate School of Medical Sciences in 2009 and, after a further reorganization, a joined research policy support staff department (‘stafonderdeel onderzoeksbeleid’) in 2012.
  • Restructuring the organization of the research in the UMCG in 2012 leading to the establishment of 33 research programs within 6 research institutes (GUIDE, CRCG, BCN-Brain, SHARE and the Kolff Institute).
  • Renewing the tenure track policy in the UMCG including the establishment of a number of pre-tenure tracks and a special track for clinical researchers in 2015. Supervising all UMCG tenure trackers (including the Rosalind Franklin Fellows) as chair of the UMCG tenure track committee from 2005-2015.
  • Shaping the Graduate School organization at the University of Groningen as Dean Graduate Studies from 2009-2019 (together with Cerien Streefland, Ineke Ganzeveld and Marjan Koopmans, successively). The Groningen Graduate Schools (GGS) have a dedicated central GGS office and consist of ten faculty based Graduate Schools. 

GGS activities in the period 2009-2020: 

  • A comprehensive PhD student administration and follow-up  system called 'Hora Finita' was developed, in collaboration with Strik Design and Fargeau. Further commercialization of Hora Finita is done by Fargeau.
  • Large PhD student surveys are conducted biennually, performed by ESI/CIT, from 2009 on. The results are published on:
  • A Wellbeing survey was issued in May 2018 (done by Els van Rooij, Marjon Bruinsma and Ellen Jansen), leading to a set of measurements aimed at improving PhD student's wellbeing.  
  •  The GGS initiated and support active PhD student organizations: GOPHERGRIN, and the PhD Day committee.
  • Two day Introductory Events are organized for all starting PhD students; first day in the Allersmaborg and second day in Het Van Swinderen Huys.
  • A comprehensive educational programme for PhD students has been developed, including the Career Perspectives Series. The latter was developed in collaboration with Ingrid Molema and Linda Dijkshoorn.
  • Participation in the national 'experiment' PhD Scholarship Programme: first application in March 2016 for 850 positions, granted and the programme started in September 2016; second application in December 2019 for 650 positions and granted in February 2020.
  • The number of PhD defenses increased from 354 in 2009 to 546 in 2019.  The University of Groningen became the second largest university in The Netherlands with respect to the number of PhD graduations in 2019.


Last modified:28 March 2023 4.01 p.m.