Jacobus Joannes (Sjaak) de Wit

  • Born: 1961 (The Netherlands)
  • Inducted: 2013
Born on a farm that produced eggs and a variety of plant crops, near Achthuizen on the Dutch island Goeree-Overflakkee, Sjaak de Wit gained his veterinary qualification at the University of Utrecht in 1989, after which he started to work for the poultry department of a regional animal health service.

He completed a PhD degree, concerning diagnosis and transmission of infectious bronchitis virus, in 1997 at the University of Utrecht. Since the merger of all Dutch regional health services and the poultry health institute “Doorn” into GD (Dutch Animal Health Service) in 1995, his job as an immunologist and senior researcher has included responsibility for the quality and accreditation of serological tests for poultry pathogens, test development, applied research and on-site consultancy at farms, hatcheries and integrations. He is also involved in the organisation by GD of the global proficiency testing schemes as quality manager. In 2006 he joined the editorial board of Avian Pathology, and was one of the founding diplomates and treasurer of the European College of Poultry Veterinary Science.

Although best known for his work on infectious bronchitis virus and infectious bursal disease virus (he invented the “Deventer formula” for the calculation of the optimal age of vaccination), Sjaak has also worked on other poultry diseases including astrovirus and reovirus infections, avian influenza, avian hepatitis E, coryza and mycoplasmosis. His publications and contributions to books also include the practical and statistical approach of analysing disease problems. Through knowledge of the diseases under field conditions, applied research, immunology and interpretation of available test systems, he tries to connect the field with science and vice versa. In 2010, he was co-author of the paper that won the Dr Bart Rispens’ Research Award.

Sjaak is known for his enthusiasm, energy and passion for his work and for life in general. Outside work, he enjoys doing jobs in his house and the garden, nature in general, dancing (rock and roll and free-style in particular) and sports. He is married to Mariken and is the proud father of three daughters Anouk, Mirthe and Sterre.

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