I am born in 1953 in Zalk, a small village near Zwolle along the river IJssel, and grew up on a dairy cattle farm in the Noordoostpolder. In 1971 I started studying Animal Sciences at Wageningen University (WU) and graduated in 1977 in Animal Breeding. For my internship I spend half a year on fish breeding research in Norway in 1974 which resulted in my first scientific publication. My MSc thesis was based on experiments with mice lines (mice are good model animals for pigs) selected for high or low body weight, or litter size. After my graduation I was appointed as staff member at the chair group Animal Breeding and Genetics. I taught various courses in animal breeding, in particular pig breeding. My research was also on pig breeding and my PhD thesis was on feed intake capacity in relation to breeding and feeding of growing pigs on which I graduated in 1988. In 1990 I spend half a year at Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio) working on transgenic mice which was continued in Wageningen during some time. Between 2000 and 2005 I worked on a research project called ‘Green Piggery’ aiming at more sustainability in pig breeding and production.
Up to 2005 I have always combined pig breeding research (in particular in the field of feed intake and body composition) with teaching and supervising students. In 2005 I became study adviser for BSc students Animal Sciences at WU during about 50% of my time. This includes, amongst many other things, providing candidate students with information about the study programme Animal Sciences at WU and advising current students about their courses to take at or outside Wageningen University. Since 2005 my research is limited to supervising about one PhD student yearly and teaching became more focussed on training of BSc and MSc students in acquiring scientific skills, next to courses on pig breeding and meat science.