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Personal profile

Research interests


My research has centred on three themes:

1. The (premodern) history of healthy ageing. This line of research combines history of medicine with medical humanities and is also directed at making history of medicine relevant to non-academic audiences, for instance in curating the exhibition Gelukkig Gezond! Histories of Healthy Ageing (Groningen University Museum, 2017). This line of argument also motivates my work as coordinator of 'Concepts and Cultures of Health' in the Aletta Jacobs School for Public Health. The relevance of history in today's health crises was also at the root of a recent call in NRC for the involvement of historians in tackling wicked problems, like Covid-19  ('Historici moeten ook meedenken, juist nu').

2. The chemistry and medicine of Dutch medical teacher Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738) and the Dutch Boerhaave school. From 2012 until 2017 I led a NWO research project (funded by a NWO vidi grant) on the introduction of a specific Boerhaavian 'vitalism' in Dutch Enlightenenment thought. 

3. The history of anatomy and anatomical collections. From 2008 until 2012 I was leader of a research project (also funded by NWO) on the historical anatomical collections of Leiden Univerisity.


I authored Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738): Calvinist Chemist and Physician (Amsterdam: Edita, 2002) and edited The Fate of Anatomical Collections (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015) as well as Lifestule and Medicine in the Enlightenment. The Six Non-Naturals in the Long Eighteenth Century (London: Routledge, 2020). 


My articles have appeared in Ambix, Journal for the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Gewina, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Medizinhistorisches Jounal and Nature, among others. I have also contributed chapters to books published by Ashgate, Routledge, Cambridge University Press, Springer, and Brill.


Education/Academic qualification

Basic Qualification Academic Teaching, Universiteit Groningen

Award Date: 1-Sept-2014

PhD History of Medicine , Univ Cambridge, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 10-Nov-2000

Master (doctoraal) in Culture and Science Studies, Universiteit van Maastricht

Award Date: 1-Aug-1995

External positions

postdoctoral researcher, Universiteit Leiden


Postdoctoral researcher, Universiteit van Maastricht


Board member Vrienden Academisch Erfgoed Groningen

Board member 'History, Health and Healing' at the Huizinga Institute for Cultural Research

Coordinator at the Aletta Jacobs School for Public Health

Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or