Dick Swaab (1944) earned his medical and doctoral degrees at the University of Amsterdam, where he became involved in brain research during his third year of medical school. He was Director of the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research from 1978 to 2005. Since 1979 he is Professor of Neurobiology at the Medical Faculty, University of Amsterdam.
In 1985, Dr. Swaab founded the Netherlands Brain Bank (NBB) to serve as a source of clinically and neuropathologically well-documented research tissue. Since its founding, the Brain Bank has provided samples from more than 4,000 autopsies to 500 research groups in 25 countries. He was director of the NBB until 2005.
He is Leader Research team Neuropsychiatric Disorders, Neth. Inst for Neuroscience, an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Swaab is also appointed for 2011-2017 Chao Kuang Piu Chair of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, P.R. China.
His major research interests focus on, sexual differentiation of the human brain in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation, aging of the brain, Alzheimer’s disease, the neurobiological basis of depression, suicide and eating disorders. He has published over 540 papers in SCI journals, authored more than 200 chapters in books, and edited more than 60 books. Swaab mentored 84 PhD students from which 16 are now full professor. He is “Companion in the Order of the Dutch Lion”, bestowed by her Royal Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. In 2008 Swaab obtained the Academy medal for his role in national and international neuroscience.
Dick Swaab is author of the 2 volume monograph The Human Hypothalamus that appeared in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology series, Elsevier, Amsterdam (1000 pp) and the Dutch best seller We are our Brains (450.000 copies sold), that is translated in 14 languages. A children's version of the book (You are your brains) has also appeared in Dutch in 2013 and Russian (2014). Swaab's H-factor is 76.