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  • Position: Associate Professor, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington.
    Field: Chemistry / Immunology.

    Dr Mattie Timmer is a lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences. He leads the VUW arm of Immunoglycomics.

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Dr Mattie Timmer

    Dr Mattie Timmer, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington.

    In science, you develop the skills to find all the answers to all the questions that you ever had.

    Like many teenagers at school, Mattie had his ‘wayward’ moments but he was fortunate to have a couple of good teachers who recognised his potential and put him on the right path! Having overcome this ‘exploratory’ phase of life, Mattie’s passion for problem-solving returned. When he left school, he enrolled in a chemistry degree at Leiden University (The Netherlands, where he lived). He enjoyed the challenge of exploring the structures of molecules. Mattie’s fascination with the molecular structure of carbohydrates in particular led him to complete an MSc and later a PhD at Leiden University. Following this, he went to Switzerland, where he met Dr Bridget Stocker who informed him that New Zealand was a great place to be. Mattie obtained firstly a postdoctoral position at VUW, then an academic position 1 year later.

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Dr Mattie Timmer in the lab

    Dr Mattie Timmer working in the lab at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research.

    Mattie has always had an interest in organic chemistry, in particular, carbohydrate chemistry. He enjoys developing new synthetic strategies that can be used to prepare molecules in ‘better’ and novel ways. He enjoys investigating the use of these molecules in the treatment and understanding of diseases such as cancer, asthma and tuberculosis. In collaboration with Dr Bridget Stocker, he runs the VUW arm of the VUW/MIMR Immunoglycomics programme.

    What is an immune response?

    Dr Mattie Timmer describes immune response as any action that your body takes against invading objects or microorganisms.

    Mattie is responsible for developing and overseeing research projects of students, teaching at the university, giving research presentations, writing grant applications and preparing manuscripts for publication. The area of work he likes the most relates to problem-solving. He also really enjoys spending time in the laboratory when his schedule permits.

    He also enjoys bird watching and hiking – and of course, being Dutch, cycling is a must (along with beer and cheese!).

    Related content

    Bridget is working together with Dr Bridget Stocker to design drugs and strengthen existing vaccines for tuberculosis, find out more in the article Designing drugs and making molecules.

    Useful link

    Read about the latest developements in Mattie and Bridget's research in this 2023 RNZ interview.

    Find out more about Mattie and Bridget in this 2020 Victoria University of Wellington article.

    See his profile on the Victoria University of Wellington's website.

    This article is based on information current in 2010 and 2023.

      Published 8 November 2010, Updated 19 June 2023 Referencing Hub articles
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