</P>On Tuesday morning March 17th 2010 Arie Verkleij passed away. Arie was a remarkable, pleasant, frank and inspiring person. He had a strong interest in technology but equally in applying new technologies to address fundamental biological questions.</P>Arie Verkleij was born in Oudewater, The Netherlands, on December 30th 1944. He studied Biology at Utrecht University and obtained his PhD in the group of Prof. Dr. van Deenen, a world-renowned pioneer in studying phase changes in lipidic systems and lipid polymorphism. During his PhD training the foundations were laid for the visualization of physico-chemical processes in membranes and their implications for biological processes such as membrane fusion. In 1979 he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard in the lab of Dan Branton, where he became involved in studying the interactions of erythrocyte proteins with the cell membrane. After returning to Utrecht, Arie pioneered basic research and applications based on cryo-fixation approaches. Throughout his scientific career he persistently focused on the development of new and better procedures to study cells and tissues. Most of his scientific achievements are linked to the architecture, structure and dynamics of biomembranes and to the development and application of immuno-gold labeling.</P>In collaboration with many other academic research groups and industrial partners he developed new approaches to study biology by means of electron microscopy. His broad technical experience and cell biological knowledge ranged from mixing high-pressure freezing cocktails, immunolabeling protocols, staining and fixation, freeze fracture, to – especially during the last few years – 3D imaging with electron tomography and focussed ion beam-scanning EM. He collaborated with numerous national and international colleagues and he organized and participated in scores of courses to teach young scientists the power and opportunities provided by electron microscopy. Arie Verkleij was on the editorial board of the Journal of Structural Biology from 2004 to 2007.</P>In the Netherlands and beyond, Arie was the key player in many aspects of electron microscopy and applications within cell biology. His openness and integrity made him a cornerstone of the Dutch EM community. His strong belief in making the field of microscopy better by working together, not only with other academic scientific groups, but also with industrial groups, such as FEI Company, shaped and defined many aspects of electron microscopy activities in the Netherlands.</P>As such, he was also a driving force in the organization and evolution of Dutch electron microscopy. From 1981–1985 he was vice-president of the Dutch Society of Electron Microscopy and from 1987–1992 he was president of that society. In 1991, he was one of the founders of the Institute of Biomembranes at the Utrecht University and served as director of that Institute until 2004. Subsequently he became Vice-Dean of Life Sciences in the science faculty. In 2009 he became Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion for his extraordinary contributions to science in the Netherlands.</P>On the 5th of November 2009 Arie gave a farewell lecture at the University of Utrecht. Because of his health problems, he felt that a small conference would be most pleasant for him. Although the lecture was organized at short notice, an impressively large number of people witnessed a splendid lecture in the largest lecture hall at Utrecht University, in which he gave an overview of his life with biology and electron microscopy. The even larger number of people that attended his funeral in the church in Nieuwegein near Utrecht was testimony of the fact that Arie was not only a fantastic scientist and colleague, but perhaps even more a clear, frank, optimistic and highly trustworthy friend and human being who enjoyed life to the fullest.</P>Jan Andries Post, Utrecht University.</P>Bram Koster, Leiden Universitair Medisch Centrum.</P>
Journal of Structural Biology – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2010
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