Westerdijk Award

The KNVM/NVMM science committee awards up to three prizes for the best PhD-thesis, one each in the categories "general microbiology", "medical microbiology", or "microbial ecology". Candidates, whom are society members, should submit their PhD-thesis on condition that it was defended less than a year ago. The prizes, which were first awarded in 2009, are named after Johanna Westerdijk. She was appointed professor at the University of Utrecht in 1917 and was the first female professor in the Netherlands. She was director of the phytopathology laboratory Willie Commelin Scholten and showed that the elm disease (generally known as dutch elm disease) was caused by the fungus Ceratocystis ulmi. The prizes are annualy awarded during the KNVM/NVMM Scientific Spring Meeting. The jury consists of members of the KNVM/NVMM science committee. Please send a digital copy of your thesis to secretariaat@nvmm.nl or send four printed copies of your thesis to:

P.O. Box 21020
8900 JA Leeuwarden
The Netherlands



  • Robert A. Schmitz. Metabolic versatility of verrrucomicrobial methanotrophs
    Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Laura E. de Vries. Steepen the Curve, the potential of pantothenamides in malaria control
    Radboud UMC Nijmegen
  • Dennis J. Doorduijn. How complement forms pores in bacterial membranes
    UMC Utrecht 


  • Michiel in 't Zandt. Microbial methane cycling in a warming world


  • Dani Heesterbeek. How complement kills bacteria
  • Charlotte Melia. Endomembrane mutiny: how picornaviruses hijack host organelles to support their replication
  • Arthur Gorter de Vries. Genome analysis and engineering of industrial lager brewing yeasts


  • Maarten Verhoeven. Novel genetic parts and cultivation strategies for yeast-based conversion of lignocellulosic feedstocks
  • Anne Voor in ’t Holt. Risk factors and transmission of healthcare-related pathogens
  • N.W.M. de Jong. Immune evasion by Staphylococcus aureus: expanding the repertoire


  • Robert van de Weerd. Mysteries beyond the mycomembrane


2017 Manouk Vrieling
PhD thesis title: Host adaptation of staphylococcal leukocidins
PhD thesis defense: 15 December 2016
University: Utrecht University
Promotores: J.A.G. van Strijp, V.P.M.G. Rutten


2017 Daan Speth
PhD thesis title: Metagenomics of microbial communities involved in nitrogen cycling
PhD thesis defense: 10 February 2016
University: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Promotores: M.S.M. Jetten, B.E. Dutilh


2016 Muriel van Tesseling
PhD thesis title: Cell biology of anammox Planctomycetes and methanotrophic Verrucomicrobia: the cell envelope of anammox Planctomycetes
PhD thesis defense: 13 January 2016
University: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Promotores: M.S.M. Jetten, L.A.M.P. van Niftrik


2016 András Spaan
PhD thesis title: Staphylococal leukocidin receptor identification: hiding in plain sight
PhD thesis defense: 18 June 2015
University: Utrecht University
Promotores: J.A.G. van Strijp, K.P.M. van Kessel


2015 Lilly Verhagen
PhD thesis title: Respiratory infections in Venezuelan children: interplay between host, pathogen and environment
PhD thesis defense: 15 April 2014
University: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Promotores: P.W.M. Hermans, J.H. de Waard, A. Warris


2015 Walter Bronkhorst
PhD thesis title: Small RNA-based antiviral defense in insects
PhD thesis defense: 21 November 2014
University: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Promotores: J.M.D. Galama, R.P. van Rij


2014 Edze Westra
PhD thesis title: Adaptive & Heritable Immunity in Bacteria - On the Regulation and Mechanism of CRISPR defense 
PhD thesis defense: 17 May 2013
University: Wageningen Universiteit en Research Centrum
Promotores: J. van der Oost, W. de Vos


2013 Maria Daleke
PhD thesis title: Tail(or)-made protein secretion in pathogenic mycobacteria
PhD thesis defense: 22 November 2012
University: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Promotores: W. Bitter, C.M.J.E. Vandenbroucke-Grauls, J. Luirink


2012 Marne Hagemeijer
PhD thesis title: Dynamics of the Coronavirus replicative structures
PhD thesis defense: 27 October 2011
University: Utrecht University
Promotores: P.J.M. Rottier, C.A.M. de Haan


2011 Katharina Ettwig
PhD thesis title: Nitrite-dependent methane oxidation
PhD thesis defense: 4 October 2010
University: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Promotores: M.Strous, M.S.M. Jetten


2010 Corine van Geurts van Kessel
PhD thesis title: Division of labor between dendritic cell subsets in the lung during influenza virus infection
PhD thesis defense: 5 June 2009
University: Erasmus Medisch Centrum
Promotores: A.D.M.E. Osterhaus, B.N. Lambrecht


2009 Marieke Emonts
PhD thesis title: Polymorphisms in immune response genes in infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases
PhD thesis defense: 8 October 2008
University: Erasmus Medisch Centrum
Promotores: R. de Groot, W.M. Hermans, J.D. Laman