Professor, Dept. of Public Health and Center for Healthy Ageing, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Preliminary title of the keynote talk:
“The new biology of ageing”
Rudi Westendorp (1959) studied medicine at the Leiden University, became a consultant in intensive care medicine and epidemiology, and in a later stage dedicated himself into geriatrics and gerontology. In 2000 he was appointed full professor at the Leiden University Medical Center and became chair of the department of old age medicine. As such he acquainted and successfully executed ample national and European grants, published more than 600 original articles with an h-index of 70+, and supervised over 50 PhD students of which three of them have been appointed full professor. Since 2007 he became the founding director of Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing that conducts research, provides education and pursues societal innovations to advance the quality of life of older people. From 2012 he chaired the VITALITY! program of Medical Delta, a consortium of the universities and municipalities of Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam. He was endowed doctor honoris causa by the University of Newcastle, UK (2009), and received a knighthood in the order of the Dutch Lion (2014). From 2015 onwards he moved office to Copenhagen University, Denmark at which he is appointed professor of Medicine at Old age at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.
What do you think are the most exciting present and future developments in your field of aging research?
The willingness of older people to be involved in research is an unparalleled source that is too little exploited yet.
23NKG is a multidisciplinary conference where the participants have the opportunity to broaden their perspective beyond the themes of their own immediate research areas. How would you like to motivate humanists and social scientists doctors to attend your lecture?
The idea that the soul has a non-material existence in a biological machine - dating back to the ideas of Rene Descartes - is utterly wrong. Body, brain and mind are inseparably interconnected.
In your mind, how can the Nordic Congress contribute to aging research in general? What do you expect from 23NKG?
To better understand the process of ageing and to address population change, it is time to invest in generalism next to relying on reductionist views.