Dirk studied chemistry at the University of Utrecht, and completed his PhD in 2005 at the Van ’t Hoff Laboratory for Physical and Colloidal Chemistry under the supervision of Prof Henk Lekkerkerker. He subsequently moved to the Ecole Normale Supérieure as a Marie Curie Fellow, joining the group of Prof. Daniel Bonn. In 2007 he took up a lecturership at the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory of the University of Oxford, combined with a Studentship at Christ Church. He was made full professor in 2013.
Dirk has been studying the behaviour of colloidal dispersions both experimentally and theoretically covering a wide range of topics: diffusion in complex networks, crystallization kinetics and structure, phase and interface behavior, wetting at flat and structured walls, hydrodynamic flow instabilities, colloidal liquid crystals, and colloidal particles near and in ice. More recently, he has also been working on applying microfluidic techniques on biomedical problems, specifically on measuring the HIV reservoir, in collaboration with Prof John Frater. In recent years Dirk has become a keen swimmer and cyclist, but so far resists the calls of some of the group members to sign up for an Ironman triathlon.