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Prof. dr. Barend Mons

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Prof. Dr. Barend Mons (1957, The Netherlands) obtained his MSc. (1981, Cum Laude) and his PhD. (1986) at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology.


Since 2012 Barend is Professor in Bio-Semantics at Department of Human Genetics at the Leiden University Medical Centre, and he still hold an honorary appointment at the Department of Medical Informatics, Erasmus Medical Centre, University of Rotterdam, both in The Netherlands. 

Since 2009, Barend is a Scientific Director of the Netherlands Bioinformatics Center (NBIC) and also Life Science Integrator in the Netherlands eScience Center. His present activities mainly focus on nanopublications and in silico Knowledge discovery, in close collaboration between Rotterdam, Leiden and NBIC, Knowlet™ technology (with the start up Euretos) combined with Open Access and Open Source Wiki-technology approaches. He is serving in the executive committee of the data interoperability project of IMI (Open PHACTS)

Former activities: During and after his PhD, Barend performed over a decade of fundamental research on the genetic differentiation of malaria parasites and he published over 45 peer reviewed scientific papers on that topic. Much of this research was conducted in close partnership with colleagues from malaria-endemic (developing) countries. For his pioneering research on the in vitro culture and differentiation of rodent and human malaria parasites he received the Eyckman medal from the Netherlands Society for Tropical Medicine.

During that period he was PI or co-proposer on a range of Dutch grants (NWO, DGIS) EC (INCO-DC) and international grants (WHO).

Barend has always been strongly entrepreneurial as a researcher. In his ‘First Leiden Period’ he developed culture systems for rodent malaria parasites and he was scientific co-founder of the company KREATECH-biotechnology.

In 1996 Barend was invited to assist the European Commissions as a Seconded National Expert with the task to develop and support international scientific networks, again, especially with developing countries as partners. During this ‘Science Management Period’ Barend became a driving force behind several other international initiatives, including the European Malaria Vaccine Initiative, the African Malaria Network Trust (AMANET) and the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria. In that period he also served as the Chairman of the Malaria Foundation. He became intrigued by the opportunities and challenges of international and multilingual networking in the context of the emerging Web technologies. He founded one of the first electronic interactive communication systems for science networking with developing countries, SHARED, for which he started to (co-)design thesaurus based concept extraction technologies in order to match across languages and jargon, with the Erasmus University of Rotterdam as the major partner. In 1999 he returned to the Netherlands and joined the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (The National research Council, NWO) as a senior adviser on International Health Research. He was one of the founders in 1999 of the company Collexis, commercializing the technology developed originally by Barend and his colleague Dr. Erik van Mulligen for SHARED. As an instrument to enrol the technology under affordable conditions in developing countries, he founded a not-for profit equivalent of Collexis, IntellectuAll.

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