Dr Chris Spronk

Posted by ep256 at Mar 02, 2018 02:48 PM |
The University is sad to report the death of Dr. Chris Spronk, who worked in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

Obituary written by Professor Geerten W. Vuister

Dr. Chris Spronk passed away on 28th February 2018, completely unexpected, at only 47 years of age.  Chris was appointed senior post-doctoral CCPN developer in my group in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology in November 2017.  He only wanted to stay in post for 6 months, as he had become a sort of travelling scientist, working in different laboratories across Europe for relatively short amounts of time on specific projects. Prior to Leicester, this had been Gothenburg and he was to next move on to Bologna.

Chris was highly valued for his expertise in computational aspects of NMR spectroscopy; he acquired his knowledge during his 20+ year career that started in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.  He did his Masters thesis in NMR spectroscopy with Prof. Cees Hilbers and them moved to Utrecht for his PhD with Profs. Boelens and Kaptein as his supervisors, doing beautiful science on the Lac repressor-DNA complex.  It was at that time that we first met and I was fortunate to recruit Chris as post-doc during my tenure in Nijmegen.  Chris spent ~6 years in Nijmegen working on NMR structures and increasingly specialising in computational aspects of NMR.  In 2007, he decided to start his own company, JSC Spronk and also Spronk Studio, in Lithuania, focussing on using his skills and expertise in commercial NMR projects with industry, training and scientific animation.  His company participated in several EU-funded projects and was expanding. During these years, he became a well-known, and highly regarded scientist in the NMR community and a good friend of many people in the field.

Chris was full of ideas, both scientifically as well as ones with potential commercial impact.  However, his true love was fundamental scientific discovery and this prompted his more recent return to academia in the form of ‘interim project support’ scientist.  I was fortunate to have him in the team during these past four months in Leicester.  We will miss him and remember and value his input.  We wish his family all the strength needed at this very sad time.

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