I was born and raised in Lisse, the Netherlands, famous for its flower fields.
After playing soccer for 10 years, I joined the local track & field club De Spartaan, where I started out as a 200-400m runner. I obtained B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Civil Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and then started an industry job at INTEC Engineering. That job made me hungry for science, and my passion for running made me specifically hungry for sport science. So, I went back to school and obtained a M.Sc. degree in Human Movement Sciences at the VU University. I did my thesis project abroad in the Rodger Kram’s lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder, studying the biomechanics and energetics of uphill running.
By then I had realized I wanted to study the biomechanics, energetics and neural control of human locomotion. So, together with my girlfriend Linda, I moved to Leuven, to do my doctorate with Jacques Duysens. My work addressed the role of the cerebellum in the neural control of gait and involved quite a number of “side projects” on split-belt treadmill walking. In the mean time, my running focus had shifted to 800-1500m.
In 2014, Linda and I married, and early 2015 we moved to Colorado to do a post-doc with Rodger. Initially, it would be for 10 months to build a large treadmill to help us study the biomechanics and energetics of cross-country skiing. Eventually, 4.5 years flew by in Boulder and together with a great team of students, and partly funded by Nike, we have published influential articles on running biomechanics, energetics and performance. We also teamed up with Specialized Bicycles Inc. to study power meter accuracy and the effects of bicycle suspension on riding energetics. My own running became slower so I turned myself into a marathon runner, with a recent time of 2:32:50 at CIM 2018.
In the fall of 2019 I started a tenure-track position in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts. Together with the other faculty and a great team of students I’m taking my research on the biomechanics, energetics and neural control of human movement to the next level!