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“It is important to use experiments as the starting point for theory development. My research is not for the sake of theory itself, but for understanding real life problems and solving them.”

Research profile

Paul van der Schoot is a soft matter theorist in the research group Soft Matter and Biological Physics. He is working on the boundary between physics, chemistry, biology and nanoscience. His research includes the application of statistical mechanical theory to problems in soft biological matter and in nanoscience and technology, and the description and interpretation of experiments in these fields. Application areas are, among others, synthetic and natural supramolecular assemblies, liquid crystals, proteins, polymers and colloidal particles. Although predominantly focused on theory development, his research has led to three granted patents. Van der Schoot has been active in the field of theoretical virus physics for over ten years. He has, based on experimental data, developed formal models describing the design principles and self-assembly behaviour of virus proteins. He was one of the principal investigators of a large interacademic Dutch research project leading to the development of a synthetic virus for controlled drug delivery, and is part of a large EU-funded international research and training consortium Distruc

Academic background

Paul van der Schoot obtained his master's degree in Molecular Life Sciences at Wageningen University in 1987. He obtained his PhD in the field of Theoretical Physical Chemistry in 1992 at Delft University of Technology, under supervision of Prof. Theo Odijk. Van der Schoot held postdoctoral research positions in the Theory of Condensed Matter group at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces near Berlin, and the Van ’t Hoff Laboratory in Utrecht. From 1999 until 2009 he was assistant professor at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). In 2009 and 2010 he was visiting professor at UPMC Paris and CRPP/Université de Bordeaux I, respectively, and visiting scholar at UCLA in 2004, 2005 and 2008, the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in 2006 and 2011, TU Berlin in 2015, and the Aspen Institute for Physics in 2015. Since 2009 Van der Schoot is (part-time) Lorentz professor of Theoretical Physics at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of Utrecht University by endowment of the Leiden University Fund. Since 2018 he holds a position as full professor at TU/e with the research group Theory of Polymers and Soft Matter.

Affiliated with

  • Eindhoven Polymer Labs
  • Dutch Research School of Theoretical Physics
  • Dutch Graduate School of Polymer Science and Technology PTN

Partners in industry

  • Unilever
  • Tejin Aramid
  • Nestlé
  • NIZO
  • ASML

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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