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“Sacrifice one submarine to move forward in regenerative medicine”

“Sacrifice one submarine to move forward in regenerative medicine”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Katherine Bassil

Prof. Clemens van Blitterswijk at Tedx Maastricht

“He is not only an idol, he is my hero!”, were Professor Clemens van Blitterswijk’s words leaving the curious audience tempted to learn about the identity of this mystery man. His talk was one of the many that were given during TEDx Maastricht’s 5th anniversary, which took place this year at the MECC forum. This year’s theme ‘The process of inception’ was entertained by various speakers taking the stage, attempting to awe, inspire and motivate the public.

Van Blitterswijk is known for his excellent multidisciplinary work in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. He is one of the most cited Dutch research scientists in the area of discovering new materials. He combines his professorship at Maastricht University with being an entrepreneur and award winner for his meticulous work.

The professor’s talk revolved around two main points. First, he argued that if you sacrify a single multimillion submarine for the sake of regenerative medicine, collaborations between international scientists can be supported in order to move forward in improving both diagnosis and treatment of numerous devastating diseases. He didn’t only stress on the lack of appropriate funding for the progress of regenerative medicine, but he highlighted his recent achievements, along with other scientists, on gathering funds and increasing collaborations within the Netherlands as a first step. Next stop: the world.

Second, Van Blitterswijk described how honoured he was to have assisted to one of Willem Johan Kolff‘s lectures in Leiden, a name that was completely unfamiliar to the whole audience. He described this Dutch/American pioneer as an idol, for his ground-breaking invention of the first dialysis machine. A machine that saved the lives of millions of patients suffering from renal failure. Moreover, a hero for his benevolent and courageous work in helping the injured and the ill during World War II.

This event also included several other talks, including talks that were based on personal experiences like the emotional story of the journalist Frénk van der Linden’s divorced parents, some were innovative like that of the social designer Lisa Hu and her social experiment with children and others about the issues of regulating virtual reality, discussed by law student Eddie King.

Katherine Bassil

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