Honorary members » People

Foto van Prof. Dr. Els Berns
Prof. Dr. Els Berns
Professor Translational Gynaecological Oncology Erasmus MC

Els MJJ Berns, PhD, is Professor Translational Gynaecological Oncology with tenure at the Department of Medical Oncology at the Erasmus MC-Cancer Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. I am trained as a molecular cell biologist and obtained my PhD degree at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1986. After two years of postdoctoral training at the Scott Department of Urology at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston TX, USA) studying prostate cancer, I returned to Rotterdam in 1988. In 2011, I was visiting professor research in the Peter McCallum Cancer Center, Melbourne, Australia, to study ovarian cancer.

Currently I head the research group “Integrated genomics of treatment resistance” that is working on the prognostic and predictive role of genes, pathways and mRNAs and miRs in breast and ovarian cancer. The main goal of the research group is to generate drug response profiles to identify biomarkers and functionally analyse drugable targets in order to improve treatment response. I have (co-)authored (H-index: 37) on 150 reviewed papers on mainly breast and ovarian cancer, in amongst others Lancet, JCO and Cancer Research. I have given invited lectures at several (inter)national meetings.

I am a member of several scientific parties including the AACR, EUTROC, EORTC and chair the EORTC-GCG Translation Research group. As PI I serve(d) on multiple national and international projects/grants, including grants from Susan Komen Foundation, Dutch Cancer Society, Erasmus MC, EORTC, Vlaams Kankerfonds, EU-OVCAD-FP6, EU-OCTIPS-FP7, EU-RAIDS-FP7, TI Pharma T3-108 & 502 and NHMRC-Australia.

For the past 25 years I have lectured students and developed teaching programs for, amongst others, the Medical Curriculum. I have trained and guided JMS-BSc-MSc-PhD students and am a qualified BKO and SKO teacher.

Foto van Prof. Dr. Geoff Norman
Prof. Dr. Geoff Norman
Querido Chair from april 2012 until november 2014. Erasmus MC

Prof. Dr. Geoff Norman is the Querido Chair from april 2012 until november 2014. In november 2014 at the end of his chair a symposium was held in the Querido room of the Educational Center of the Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Prof. Dr. Geoff Norman’s academic interests focus on the psychology of expertise particularly as applied to expert clinicians. His research is focused on the psychology of clinical reasoning, particularly in the relative contribution of rapid processing based on prior experience (so-called pattern recognition) and analytical rules, and educational strategies to improve reasoning. He is Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University in Canada. He is an expert in the field of clinical reasoning and the psychology of expertise of medical specialists. The point of this research main question is: How do physicians for their diagnosis? He has discovered that doctors two ways to reach a diagnosis. One way is through analytical thinking: weighing the symptoms and possible diseases and disease mechanisms play a role. The other way is based on pattern recognition by much experience in the treatment of patients. He is also a well-known researcher on the effectiveness and efficiency of modern materials such as e-learning, simulations and gaming in education.

The Querido Chair is the tribute to the founder and first dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The Chair aims to build bridges between medical research, medical education and healthcare. Scientists who have shown in their work that they can develop such new visions occupy the Querido Chair at the EUR for two years.


Foto van Prof. Dr. Henk G. Schmidt
Prof. Dr. Henk G. Schmidt
Professor of psychology at Erasmus University’s faculty of social sciences EURErasmus University’s faculty of social sciences

Henk Schmidt (1947) is a professor of psychology at Erasmus University’s faculty of social sciences and founding dean of its problem-based psychology curriculum


Previously, Schmidt held academic positions as professor of cognitive psychology, faculty of psychology, Maastricht University, and as professor of health professions education at the same university. His administrative positions include both the deanships of the faculty of social sciences at Erasmus University and the faculty of health sciences of Maastricht University. In addition, he has been the president of the Dutch Psychological Association (NIP), the chairman of the Dutch Society for Research into Higher Education (CRWO), and the associate secretary general of the Network of community-oriented educational institutions for health sciences, a World Health Organization-supported NGO.

He was R. Samuel McLaughlin Professor at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, and Prof. L. Verhaegen Professor at the Limburg University Centre, Diepenbeek, Belgium. Furthermore, he has been a visiting professor at McGill University, Montreal, Canada; the University of Bern, Switzerland; and the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He was a speaker at the Nobel Forum, upon invitation by the Nobel Prize Committee, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, and a key-note speaker at numerous conferences all over the world.

His research areas of interest are learning and memory, and he has published on problem-based learning, long-term memory, and the development of expertise in medicine. He has published more than 250 articles in refereed journals, chapters in books, and books; alone or together with his 30+ PhD.-students. In addition, he is the founding editor of two journals. Schmidt is among the most cited Dutch psychologists; in 2005 the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW) selected him as one of the top 200 Dutch scientists.

Twice he received the ”Outstanding paper by an established investigator” Award of the American Educational Research Association. In 1996 the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada awarded him an honorary degree. In 2004, the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, announced him to be the winner of its international medical education research prize for his work in medical expertise and problem-based learning. In 2006, he received the Distinguished Career Award of the American Educational Research Association, Division I.

Foto van Prof. Dr. Ir. Axel P.N. Themmen Ph.D.
Prof. Dr. Ir. Axel P.N. Themmen Ph.D.
Professor Experimental Endocrinology and Medical Education Erasmus MCiMERR/Department of Internal Medicine

Axel Themmen has a MSc from Wageningen University (Molecular Life Sciences) and leads a research group in the Department of Internal Medicine at Erasmus MC.

Professor Experimental Endocrinology and Medical Education


He has a great interest in medical education. Besides teaching endocrinology, he has developed a pre-university course for excelling secondary school students (Junior Med School) and is the coordinator of the selection and admission of medical school students. He has served as the director of the Bachelor phase of the Erasmus MC medical school from 2007-2011. Axel Themmen is one of the co-founders of iMERR and his research interests include determinants of study success during medical school, the development and validation of selection instruments for medical school admission and residency programs.


  1. Urlings-Strop LC, Stijnen T, Themmen AP, Splinter TA. Selection of medical students: a controlled experiment. Med Educ. Feb 2009;43(2):175-183.
  2. Urlings-Strop LC, Themmen AP, Stijnen T, Splinter TA. Selected medical students achieve better than lottery-admitted students during clerkships. Med Educ. Oct 2011;45(10):1032-1040.
  3. Stegers-Jager KM, Cohen-Schotanus J, Splinter TA, Themmen AP. Academic dismissal policy for medical students: effect on study progress and help-seeking behaviour. Med Educ. Oct 2011;45(10):987-994.
  4. Stegers-Jager KM, Cohen-Schotanus J, Themmen AP. Motivation, learning strategies, participation and medical school performance. Med Educ. 2012;46(7):678-688.
  5. Stegers-Jager KM, Steyerberg EW, Cohen-Schotanus J, Themmen AP. Ethnic disparities in undergraduate pre-clinical and clinical performance. Med Educ. Jun 2012;46(6):575-585.
  6. Stegers-Jager KM, Cohen-Schotanus J, Themmen AP. The effect of a short integrated study skills programme for first-year medical students at risk of failure: A randomised controlled trial. Medical teacher. 2013;35(2):120-126.
  7. Stegers-Jager K, Themmen A. Dealing with diversity in medical education. Med Educ. Aug 2013;47(8):752-754.
  8. Urlings-Strop LC, Stegers-Jager KM, Stijnen T, Themmen AP. Academic and non-academic selection criteria in predicting medical school performance. Medical teacher. Jun 2013;35(6):497-502.
  9. Lucieer SM, Jonker L, Visscher C, Rikers RMJP, Themmen APN. Self-regulated learning and academic performance in medical education. Med. Teach. 2015. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/0142159X.2015.1073240#.VemZwBGeDRY
  10. Lucieer SM, Stegers-Jager KM, Rikers RMJP, Themmen APN. Non-cognitive selected students do not outperform lottery-admitted students in the pre-clinical stage of medical school. Adv. Health Sci. Educ. Theory Pract. 2015. doi:10.1007/s10459-015-9610-4.
  11. Stegers-Jager KM, Steyerberg EW, Lucieer SM, Themmen AP. Ethnic and social disparities in performance on medical school selection criteria. Med. Educ. 2015;49(1):124–133.
  12. Stegers-Jager KM, Themmen AP. Dealing with diversity: stepping backwards to see the whole picture. Med. Educ. 2015;49(2):233.
  13. Stegers-Jager KM, Themmen APN. Binding study advice: effect of raising the standards? Perspect. Med. Educ. 2015. doi:10.1007/s40037-015-0180-1.


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