Beyond the scientist: Gerard Rongen

Rongen, Gerard.jpg

Where and when were you born?
5 maart 1965 in Breda, the Netherlands.

Where do you live and with whom?
I live in Nijmegen, together with my beloved Henny, who is the mother of our three children: Sjoerd, Lieke and Vera.

Who was your role model when you were a kid?
As a kid, my parents were the most important role model. Apart from them, I had a couple of ‘hero’s’. The ones I best remember are Herman Krebbers, later on Jaap van Zweden: famous Dutch violin players at that time (Jaap is currently director of many orchestra’s: a successful example of professional leadership). Furthermore, I admired speed skaters: Ard Schenk, Hilbert van der Duim (including his great excuse for falling down).

Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?).
Although I still play violin at regular intervals, my talent does not support a career in this field. I still remember my mother’s lesson (she was a nurse) to focus on patient’s interests in whatever you do as a medical professional. My father was a great singer (tenor). As a kid, I did not appreciate that, but now I am surprised that I sing in two choirs myself (as a tenor).

What is the thing in your (work or other) history that you are most proud of?
There is not a single thing that stands out. Work: the rare occasions that I really have made the difference in the treatment of a patient. Other: the happiness of my children (a succesful team effort). That unique moment when I played violin during a christmas celebration in a nursing home and one of the people in the audience started to cry.

What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?
More insight in the role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of hypertension and its complications, resulting in better personalized treatment of patients with hypertension. A successful and sustainable research theme ‘Vascular Damage’.

For what can we wake you up?
A long distance run from home to Mookerheide during sun rise.

What is your hobby and how good are you at it?
Long distance running. Best times (approximately): 3 hours 52 minutes for the marathon (Terschelling), 1 hour and 38 minutes for 21 km (Eindhoven) and 1 hour 8 minutes for the 7 Hills (good enough as long as I am faster then most of the medical and BMW students). Singing in a choir and playing violin (good enough for people to enjoy my efforts). Touring with motor, together with friends (no competition involved).

What is your biggest irritation?
Bureaucracy

Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance? 
J.S. Bach

 


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