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CERM mourns the premature loss of Jacques Vervoort, Professor of Biochemistry at the Wageningen Agricultural University.

Jacques has been among the very first international partners of our research group since the late 80’ies, more than one decade before the foundation of CERM. At that time, one of the key events for the build-up of the Bioinorganic Chemistry Community in Europe was the FEBS Advanced Course on Metal Ions in Biological Systems, founded by Cees Veeger and Bob Crichton, which took place in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) since 1985. From 1987 to 2001, several CERMIANS have been speakers/tutors at the Louvain-la-Neuve school. The NMR teaching was organized in theoretical lectures, hands-on activities and tutorial sessions; for many years Claudio Luchinat, Lucia Banci and Mario Piccioli shared with Jacques Vervoort the NMR training at the Course. Indeed, the faculty staff of the Advanced Course on Metal Ions in Biological systems gathered together, over the years, many of the founders of Biological Inorganic Chemistry in Europe: A. Xavier, D Mansuy, A. Trautwein, F. Hagen, H. Siegel, E. Carafoli, F Armstrong, A Thompson, to mention a few of them. Rainy days in spring, after-dinner lectures, after after-dinner-lecture sessions at the bar in front of the most famous Belgian beers, contributed to form many of the scientists that are now active in the field.
Jacques Vervoort and the Wageningen Agricultural University also played an important role in the CERM history when, in the early nineties, the first Large Scale Facility Program was launched. The NMR-LSF program involved the three NMR laboratories of Florence, Utrecht and Frankfurt for structural biology and the Wageningen Agricultural University for agriculture, food sciences, plant –imaging and soil sciences.
Member of the school founded at Wageningen University by Cees Veeger, Jacques Vervoort has provided a fundamental role in the development of MAGNEFY, the actual NMR Facility in Wageninen. His open and friendly personality made him not only an excellent instructor, but also a good friend for those of us who had the opportunity to work with him either within the Advanced Course in Louvain-la-Neuve or in one of the LSF projects, that also included the RTD project (1998-2000) on “Development of NMR instrumentation to achieve excitation and detection of large bandwidth and dipolar couplings in high Resolution spectra at high-field”. We express our deepest condolence to his wife and colleague Prof. Ivonne Rietjens.