The Stevin Prize is a prestigious award for top researchers or a team of two to three researchers with international reputations. The laureates each receive 2.5 million euro to spend on research and/or activities on knowledge exchange and impact. In 2018, virologist Marion Koopmans (Erasmus MC) received this prize.
Transfer of viruses from animals to humans
Marion Koopmans is Professor in Virology at the Erasmus MC. Her research focuses on the transmission of viruses from animals to humans, particulary by eating animal products. To map this, she studies genetic information in the form of DNA or RNA in viruses.
Koopmans was the initiator of the international NoroNet network for research on noro viruses (the cause of stomach flu). Because of this research, nowadays we know much more about the genetic variety within these virsuses. For example: now we know that noro virsuses can undergo rapid genetic changes to stay one step ahead of the immune system of their hosts.