Professor Jaap van Dissel is Director of the RIVM Centre for Infectious Disease Control. In addition, he is Professor of Internal Medicine, specialising in infectious diseases, at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC).

The complex and often unpredictable consequences of changes in lifestyle and the environment will continue to lead to the adaptation of microorganisms. As a result of this, old, familiar and new pathogens will appear and they will surprise us time and again. Few understood this better than the creatures Alice met in Lewis Caroll’s ‘Through the Looking Glass’: The Red Queen says, after a highly exhausting running game: 'Now, here you see [..Alice..], it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.

Jaap van Dissel studied Medicine at the University of Leiden. In 1987, he earned his PhD cum laude with a thesis on the immune mechanisms which protect against intracellular bacteria such as Salmonella and Listeria.

Before joining RIVM, Jaap van Dissel was Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the LUMC. He was also Head Tutor of Internal Medicine and President of the Centre for Infectious Diseases. He took a sabbatical from his career at the LUMC to carry out research at Duke University Medical Center in Durham and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the United States.

Van Dissel has supervised more than 25 PhD students and has written more than 280 scientific publications, largely on infectious diseases. In addition he has helped to write more than 75 educational modules and books on infectious diseases.

In addition to his work at RIVM, Jaap van Dissel spends one day a week working at the LUMC, where he manages a clinic for immune disorders and supervises various research projects and PhD students.