A Personal Touch of Jan-Willem Hoekstra

Jan Willem Hoekstra Low.jpg

Please learn more about colleagues in our "Personal Touch" series setting employees in the spotlight. A light-hearted manner to learn about the colleagues you know and those you don't!.

This week: Jan-Willem Hoekstra






1. Name, nationality, current function, department & theme?
Jan Willem Hoekstra, Dutch, assistant professor, Dept. of Biomaterials (Dentistry), theme Reconstructive and regenerative medicine

2. When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up? Can you tell us something about your childhood years. 
I knew at the age of six already that I wanted to become a dentist. Strange but true. My child years were great with two younger brothers, we grew up in Eindhoven. Nobody in the family worked in health care, so I did not exactly know what to expect in my career. I finished school at the age of 17 and started Dentistry at that same age.

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why did you choose that study/those studies? 
After graduating from the dental school in Nijmegen, I worked as a general dentist in several practices. I wanted to do something more and was still quite young (22 years old) so I started to study medicine. I quit this study after 1,5 years again, since dentistry appeared to be more fun than I thought and most importantly because I got the opportunity to start a PhD project at the department of Biomaterials.

4. The RIMLS motto is ‘to understand molecular mechanisms of disease’. What does this mean for you?
For me as a clinician, this means that the link to clinics must always be kept in mind in our research. We want to understand molecular mechanisms, but only to understand the disease.

5. Which international scientist inspires/inspired you the most? Please give a motivation why. 
Prof. dr. Branemark was the scientist that invented oral implantology. He has been of tremendous influence on the evolvement of dentistry to what it is today. He is therefore my great example. However, his achievements are probably not within my capabilities. Therefore another great example is prof. dr. D. Buser in Bern, Switzerland. He performs research in a very systematical way and performs dentistry on a down-to-earth way, backed up by science without the cowboy mentality that is often seen in dentistry in general.

6. Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud?
Research achievements are always a team effort. For our department, I am proud of the development of a degradable bone substitute which will be tested in a phase I human clinical trial on short notice.

7. Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform? 
Tough question. I guess that I would start a large multi-center trial on oral implantology in combination with bone augmentation. There is nog enough evidence on the combination of these two.

8. What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)? 
My desk is always organized. Personally, I try to be as organized as my desk which is however not always the case…

9. Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her? 
Hamdan Alghamdi: do you miss the Netherlands, or only in the summer?

10. You are nominated by Jeroen van den Beucken and he asked  What is your answer to this question?
"Jan-Willem Hoekstra: Do you brush and floss your teeth and finalize with mouth water (twice a day)?"

Haha yes I do! Except for the mouth water which is of no added value to oral health (evidence based!). I brush twice a day and use tooth picks and dental floss once a day. Every day. True story.

11. What type of person are you, quick insights:
a) Mac or  PC:
Definitely PC
b) Theater or Cinema:
Theater, the ambiance is better
c) Dine out or dine in: 
Dine out
d) Ferrari or Fiat:
e) Schopaholic or chocoholic:
f) Culture or Nature:
Cannot decide! Gun to the head: nature.

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