Willem M. de Vos (1954) studied Biochemistry and received a cum laude PhD degree at the State Univerity of Groningen that was partly done at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, stayed for a post-doc at the NIRD (now IFR) in the UK, and became research manager at NIZO, the research institute of the Netherlands dairy industry. Here he established a research group on lactic acid bacteria and (at the age of 32) became first Professor of Bacterial Genetics and later Chair of Microbiology at Wageningen University, where he also served as Director of the Department of Biomolecular Sciences. While continuing to head the Laboratory of Microbiology his joint NIZO appointment was terminated in 2000 to become Programme Director at the Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences, now known as the Top Institute Food and Nutrition, a public-private centre of excellence in the Netherlands. In 2007 he stepped down from that function as he was elected Finland Distinguished Professor and he now serves as Professor Microbiology at Wageningen University, Professor of Molecular Microbiology at Helsinki University, and is also visiting Professor at Turku University, Finland.
He has supervised more than 75 PhD students, published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers, and was involved in the filing of more than 20 patents or patent applications. He received several international awards, including FEBS, EMBO and CEC fellowships, the Rhone Poulenc Marschall International Dairy Science Award, and the 2008 Spinoza Award from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).). Finally, he serves in various international advisory boards in the area of genomics and food sciences, is co-chairing the Faculty of 1000 on Food and Industrial Biotechnology, and is among the ISI highly cited authors in Microbiology (h factor > 65).