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Prof. PJ Sterk has been appointed professor of the Pathophysiology and Phenotyping of Asthma and COPD at the Faculty of Medicine.

Prof. Sterk (photo: J Oerlemans)

Prof. PJ Sterk (b. 1951) has been appointed professor of the Pathophysiology and Phenotyping of Asthma and COPD at the Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA) of the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA).

Peter Sterk’s research is characterised by a strong focus on the pathophysiological mechanisms that play a role in the exacerbation (acute worsening) and progression of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). To that end he performs in vivo patient-related research that centres around the link between respiratory functions and cellular mechanisms. In this context, he emphasises the connection between the clinical research unit and the laboratory of the Department of Pulmonary Diseases. He will be working with experimental rhinoviral infections and new molecular interventions in patients with asthma and COPD. For the phenotyping and monitoring of patients he will validate the use of biomarkers in exhaled air using advanced electronic noserhino technology (breatheomics).

Peter Sterk is a clinical physiologist. After completing his medical studies he obtained a doctorate in Leiden in 1981 on the function of the small airways in ‘healthy’ smokers. After a clinical fellowship at the McMaster University in Canada he was employed by the Department of Pulmonary Diseases of the Leiden University Hospital (later renamed Leiden University Medical Centre, or LUMC), where he set up a system for patient-related asthma research, which was later extended to include COPD research. In 1996 he was appointed professor holding a personal chair in the Pathophysiology of Obstructions in the Respiratory Tract on behalf of the Dutch Asthma Fund, a chair that was taken over by the LUMC in 2006. Professor Sterk also served as the chairman of the Education Committee for Biomedical Sciences.

Professor Sterk is the editor-in-chief of the European Respiratory Journal and a member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and Respiratory Research. He formerly served as co-editor of the European textbook on Respiratory Medicine. He is also the chairman of Funderend Onderzoek, the scientific advisory board of the Dutch Asthma Fund. Professor Sterk will retain his professorship in Leiden in addition to his post at the UvA.