Sjef Smeekens (ORCID 0000-0001-6631-9426) is professor of Molecular Plant Physiology, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Sciences and leader of the Master’s programme Science&Business Management at Utrecht University. His research interests focus on plant sugar metabolism and sugars as signaling molecules that regulate plant growth, development and reproduction. Sugar signaling is crucial to plant growth and in the absence of such sugar derived signals growth ceases, even when sugars are abundant. Sugar signaling acts in concert with plant development to optimize plant architecture and yield.
Smeekens published over 130 research papers in his field of research and is currently active in efforts by European plant scientists to legalize genome editing, bringing the application of this technology in line with the rest of the world.