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Scientific Committee

Robert Kaptein


Utrecht University



Robert Kaptein studied chemistry at the University of Leiden in 1958 –1965. He obtained his doctoral degree in 1971 cum laude with Prof. L.J. Oosterhoff as his promotor. In 1967 he switched topics to study the mechanism of Chemically Induced Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (CIDNP), a phenomenon that had been discovered in that year, but was not well understood. In 1969 the correct explanation (the Radical Pair Mechanism) was found by Kaptein and independently by Gerhard Closs.  After a postdoc at Varian in Palo Alto, California, and 3 years at the research laboratory of Shell in Amsterdam Kaptein went back to Academia, first at the University of Groningen in 1975 and in 1987 at Utrecht University, where he could work with the then highest field NMR spectrometer (500 MHz). This allowed the study of biomolecules and his group was able to determine one of the first 3D structures of a protein (lac repressor headpiece) by NMR. Protein-DNA interaction was a major topic of his later research.

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