On Friday the 13th of November 2020, during the digital NRS General Assembly Meeting, the NRS Swierenga Medal was presented to Prof. Harry Groen from the UMCG. Since 1985 the Medal has been awarded to persons with great merit in the field of respiratory diseases in the broad sense in the Netherlands. This may be related to diagnostics, treatment or science of lung diseases, or special social merits for the field. The award was presented by Prof. Grutters, the president of the Prof. Dr. Jaap Swierenga Stichting. Prof. Groen was selected as the winner of this year's medal, as he played an important role in the initiation of 'NVALT studies', has an impressive and stable scientific output over several decades and successfully completed difficult files (including reimbursements from 'de basiszorg' for new treatments for lung cancer). In addition, he has played an important role for many years as a national advisor to KWF, insurers, and policy makers. Therefore, he has made a very distinctive social contribution to the development of lung oncology care nationwide. Congratulations Prof. Groen!
The NRS Crossover Science Award was presented to Dr. Martijn Nawijn from the UMCG for his work on the Lung Cell Atlas. This award was presented by the head of the NRS New Committee (Dr. Niki Reynaert, Maastricht University) that ranked the applications. The Atlas describes the healthy human lungs, and the disease-associated changes in the cellular landscape of the airway wall in patients with childhood-onset asthma. The combination of innovative single-cell analyses with newly developed computational approaches resulted in the identification of unique cell states in the airway wall that had not been identified previously. The award will be used to establish an animation for the use in presentations, on websites and on social media. This animation serves to inform the respiratory and patient community and the lay public on the Lung Cell Atlas initiative and to ask for feedback on the design of the atlas. Between the announcement in June and the award ceremony in November, Dr. Nawijn already worked on the animation and a preview was shown during the ceremony. Congratulations Dr. Nawijn!