The virus hunter

From New Scientist:

Osterhaus_1How do some people find what everyone else has missed? Is it hard work, instinct, luck, breaking the rules – or something extra? Albert Osterhaus isn’t sure. But he has a big reputation, with major credits for SARS, bird flu and seal distemper and his methods can be “unconventional”.

Albert Osterhaus qualified as a vet, but quickly tired of neutering cats. He moved into research, and graduated from Utrecht University in 1978 with a PhD in virology. His reputation as a virus collector was founded at the Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and Environment, where he was responsible for ensuring that vaccines produced in kidney cells of monkeys and rabbits were clear of extraneous viruses. This gave him the opportunity to work on a range of animal viruses, eventually producing ground-breaking research. Now he heads a 100-strong lab at Erasmus University,Rotterdam, owns two biotech companies, and is part of numerous global collaborations.

Read Diane Martindale’s interview of Osterhaus here.