September 2011
Volume 52, Issue 10
Free
Lecture  |   September 2011
Introducing Paulus T. V. M. de Jong, the 2011 Recipient of the Weisenfeld Award
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science September 2011, Vol.52, 7716. doi:10.1167/iovs.11-8236
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      Astrid E. Fletcher; Introducing Paulus T. V. M. de Jong, the 2011 Recipient of the Weisenfeld Award. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(10):7716. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-8236.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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I am delighted to introduce Professor Paulus de Jong, this year's recipient of the Mildred Weisenfeld Award. This award recognizes his achievements in ophthalmology research, in particular in ophthalmic epidemiology, with more than 400 publications and numerous distinctions. In 2007, he was made a Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion, one of the highest accolades in The Netherlands. 
Paulus has tremendous energy and intellectual curiosity, undertaking various responsibilities and research at the same time. He qualified in medicine at the University of Utrecht in 1967. During the following 2-year residency in ophthalmology, he was concurrently a naval lieutenant for his compulsory military service, a part-time neuroscience PhD student at the University of Amsterdam, and a locum ophthalmologist in Pakistan—and he married his childhood sweetheart Marij. In 1982 at the age of 39, he became Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, a post he held until 1995, when he became Director of the Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute in Amsterdam, serving there until 2002. Throughout this period and up to 2008 he was also professor of ophthalmic epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology at Erasmus. 
In the area of clinical ophthalmology, which occupied the earlier part of his career, his research spanned patient treatment and management studies, histopathology studies describing previously unrecognized retinal phenomena, and studies on the genetics of rare disorders. He was one of the first to develop and apply botulinum toxin treatment for squint, oscillopsia, and essential blepharospasm in humans. For this work he received the Netherlands Dystonia Society triennial award in 2005. From 1982 to 1992, he created and implemented guidelines for, and research on, treatment of uveal melanomas and was a founder of the Ocular Oncology Group of the EORTC (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer). 
In 1990, Paulus became the principal investigator of the ophthalmic component of the Rotterdam Study. The Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort study of some 10,000 men and women aged 55 and over was the first major epidemiologic study of age-related eye disease in Europe and at that time one of the few internationally. The study findings have advanced our understanding of the contribution of lifestyle and genetic factors to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma. The Rotterdam study also offered a rich database for training, and Paulus supervised 30 junior fellows, many of whom have gone on to build impressive careers. 
Paulus recognized the value of comparative research by pooling results from the Rotterdam Study with those of two other early major population-based studies: the Beaver Dam Eye Study with Ron and Barbara Klein and the Blue Mountains Eye Study with Paul Mitchell. Paulus also realized the importance of valid replicable methodology and, together with Ron Klein and others, developed the International Grading System for AMD, which was essential for progress to be made in the epidemiology. 
Paulus has a very strong ethical sense. He famously speaks his mind, and, being an accomplished linguist, he speaks his mind in several languages. Paulus is a highly cultured man. He is a collector of art and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of history, including the history of ophthalmology, and an appreciation of music, opera, and literature. He is a committed colleague who is valued for his involvement and inputs. He is also great fun! The life and soul of the party. At his core, Paulus is a family man, with two delightful children, both doctors, and two grandchildren. Underpinning his distinguished career is his longstanding and loving relationship with Marij. 
It is my pleasure and honor to introduce Professor Paulus de Jong who will present the Mildred Weisenfeld Award lecture. 
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