I am a philosopher of science with a background in physics, philosophy, and theoretical biology, and a research focus in philosophy of the life sciences, biology and society, and research ethics. Officially I am Professor of Philosophy of Biology at the Institute of Philosophy at Leibniz Universität Hannover (Germany), with a cross appointment in the Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences (CELLS).
I grew up in The Hague on the Dutch North Sea coast, where I enjoyed a secondary education at Aloysius College. I hold two Master's degrees (one in physics with a thesis on the behavior of multilayered superconductors in magnetic fields; one in philosophy of science with a thesis on Everett's interpretation of quantum theory) and a Doctoral degree (with a dissertation on the species problem in the philosophy of biology), all three from Leiden University. I live in Lansing, Michigan, but also spend much time in Hannover, Germany.
After having finished my dissertation work in Leiden I moved to Leibniz Universität Hannover (Germany), where I have been a Postdoc, Lecturer / Assistant Professor, Junior Professor and now Professor. I'm also one of the PI's in the DFG Research Training Group 2073, Integrating Ethics and Epistemology of Scientific Research, an Associated Member of the Leibniz Center for Science and Society (LCSS), and a member of the Leibniz School of Education.
In between my second Master's and my PhD at Leiden I have been a trainee Policy Officer at the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), where I have worked on topics in GMO regulation and medical ethics. I have been a Visiting Fellow at the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science (University of Minnesota - Twin Cities) in the Fall Semester 2008 and again in the Fall Semester 2013. I have been a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Interdisciplinarity (C4I) at Michigan State University in the Academic Year 2018-2019, and currently am a Visiting Scholar in the Socially Engaged Philosophy of Science Group (SEPoS) group at Michigan State University.
I wrote my Doctoral dissertation as a Research Assistant at the (unfortunately no longer existing) endowed Chair of Philosophy of Biology, which at the time was housed in the wonderful Theoretical Biology group in Leiden's Institute of Biology - an eclectic group of philosophers of biology, bioethicists, mathematical and computational biologists, methodologists, and phylogenetic systematists. This circumstance is likely responsible for my view that there is no (and there should not be any) deep divide between the philosophy of a particular science and theoretical work in that science (see also my research profile on this site).
Service to the profession (selection):
I am Editor in Chief (together with Philippe Huneman and Charles Wolfe) of the Springer book series History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences (series homepage here). Contact me with any questions about the series, or if you're interested in publishing your book or edited collection with us.
I am also an Editorial Board member of the Springer book series Science: Philosophy, History and Education (see here).
I am Editor in Chief (together with Helmut Pulte and Claus Beisbart) of the Journal for General Philosophy of Science (see here). The JGPS is associated with the Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsphilosophie (the German Society for the Philosophy of Science, which I co-founded) and I am associate member of the Society's board as liaison between the Journal and the Society. Feel free to contact me with any questions about the Journal.
In 2011, together with six colleagues from other German universities I have founded the German Society for the Philosophy of Science (Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsphilosophie, GWP). I have served two terms as Treasurer on the GWP's Governing Board (2011-2016) and remain on the Board as Associate Board Member (liaison officer with the Journal for General Philosophy of Science).
At my university I'm a member of the Investigative Committee for Good Scientific Practice, as well as the Committee for Responsibility in Research. I am also Chair of the Admissions Committee as well as the Examination Committee of our M.A. Program in Philosophy of Science. I have served 4 years on the Education Committee of the Faculty of Humanities, as well as one term (2 years) as Chair and one term (2 years) as Deputy Chair of the Institute of Philosophy.