Wiro Niessen was appointed as member of The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) on Wednesday. Niessen is Professor of Medical Imaging at Erasmus MC and TU Delft.

Niessen’s research focuses on diagnosing and predicting neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular diseases. He focuses on processing and analysing large numbers of medical images. Existing and self-designed software is used to recognise disease patterns. By analysing and comparing such things as MRI brain images on a large scale, it is possible to detect, diagnose or even predict dementia.

Additional female scholars

Normally, KNAW, which has five hundred members, selects sixteen newcomers each year, but this year, it held an extra round for ten female scholars: it is exactly a hundred years ago that the first female professor, Johanna Westerdijk, gave her inaugural lecture.

There are now thirteen women on the list. This means that in the ‘normal’ round, only three women are selected, compared to thirteen men. “That is indeed a relatively small number”, admitted a spokesperson. “Two years ago, for example, we had an equal number of men and women in the regular round.”

New round

KNAW does not want to say which ten female members have been appointed via the extra round. It does not want to make a distinction between the members, who were selected according to ‘exactly the same criteria’.

The nominations for next year can be submitted starting from this month. There will also be an extra ‘Westerdijk round’ next year, this time for six female members. KNAW is hoping that more women will start to be nominated in the regular round again.

All appointments can be found here.