Beyond the scientist: Geert Litjens

Geert Litjens foto vk.jpg

Geert Litjens, assistant Professor and researcher at the department of Pathology

Where and when were you born?

I was born in Venlo, a small city in Limburg, in the south of the Netherlands on April 4th 1985. That was actually one day before my dad’s birthday, so I hope I was a nice present.

Where do you live and with whom?

I currently live in Lent, next to the Thermion, a former Philips factory which was renovated and now contain a lot of healthcare services, also from Radboud. I live there with Eva, who is running her own Radboud spin-off company Thirona.

Who was your role model when you were a kid?

I’m not sure whether he was really a role model per se, but I really wanted to be a police officer like my uncle (who is also named Geert).  

Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?)

Well, at a certain point you realize that fireman, doctor, astronaut and police officer are not the only professions in the world and that some things fit much better with your personality and skill set. I learned during my final years in high school and during college that I really enjoyed doing research, and that stuck with me, even after my PhD.

What is the thing in your (work or other) history that you are most proud of?

During my PhD and after I was involved in organizing several 'Grand Challenges', where we define an important task in medical imaging, release a large public dataset and then try to solve that problem with every researcher around the world who wants to contribute. This has given me the opportunity to collaborate with a lot of international research groups and companies. I still receive request and solutions for the challenge on segmentation in prostate MRI (PROMISE12), which I organized during my PhD, to this day.  

What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?

In medical imaging, and specifically digital pathology, we will see the first solutions based on new machine learning techniques like deep learning enter daily practice in the next few years. I'm sure this will transform the way we work on several fronts and my goal is to make sure that our research group stays at the forefront of these developments.

For what can we wake you up?


What is your hobby and how good are you at it?

I really enjoy doing sports, doesn't really matter what, although my heart is with basketball. Currently I play futsal (not so good at it), squash (slightly better) and do fitness and running.

What is your biggest irritation?


Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance?

Roger Federer, I think he is one of the greatest athletes alive and he seems like a great source of inspiration.

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