Bart Knols is a man who is inspired by insects. After he got his MSc in Biology and his PhD in Medical Entomology from Wageningen University in 1996, Knols worked as a senior scientist and field station manager for ICIPE, a Kenya-based international organization researching the effects of insects on the environment, health, and food production. He then worked as a programme manager for the UN at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for three years before he became an assistant professor at Wageningen University and Research Centre. Two years later Knols got a position as a visiting Scientist at the Amsterdam Medical Centre/University of Amsterdam.
To this day, Bart Knols is passionate about mosquitoes. Malaria almost killed his wife in Tanzania, and he himself was floored nine times by it in the eleven years he lived in Africa. He realized he had an entrepreneurial mind, so he got an MBA degree (2006) to facilitate his plans to make malaria a thing of the past and kissed his academic career goodbye. Since 2007, Knols has (co)founded three companies specialized in insect-transmitted diseases. K&S Consulting, of which Knols is the founder and managing director, is a firm specialized in medical information- and science management, with a focus on developing countries. He is also the science director and managing partner at Soper Strategies, of which he is the co-founder. Soper Strategies specializes in mosquito elimination campaigns, in order to eradicate diseases such as malaria and dengue. Knols is also the founder and managing director of In2Care, a research company that focuses on developing control solutions for disease-transmitting insects such as mosquitoes, ticks and flies. Bart is also the Chair of the Advisory Board of the Dutch Malaria Foundation.
Like Fred Soper (the man after whom Soper Strategies is named) who fought an outburst of African malaria mosquitoes in Brazil at the start of WW2 by employing thousands of people to search and kill mosquito larvae, Bart strongly believes in practical, not necessarily high-tech solutions to stop malaria.
Bart Knols is the (co)author of over 100 scientific publications on the topic of mosquitoes and insect transmitted diseases. He also wrote a popular science book on mosquitoes: ‘Mug- de fascinerende wereld van volksvijand nr. 1′ (2009), now in its fourth print, which got a lot of critical acclaim.
In 2006, Knols received an Ig Nobel Prize for his discovery that African malaria mosquitoes are equally attracted to the smell of Limburger cheese as sweaty feet. In 2007, his work earned him the Eijkman medal, the highest award in the Netherlands in the field of tropical medicine and international health.
At TEDxMaastricht, Bart Knols will speak about his war on malaria, the biting truth about mosquitoes, and show the audience some remarkable discoveries.
More about Bart Knols:
http://www.soperstrategies.com/ (company website)
http://www.in2care.org (company website)