Professor Sibrandes Poppema is Sunway University's President. He came to Sunway in 2019 as a Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Professor and Advisor to the Chancellor on the establishment of a Medical School at Sunway University. Professor Poppema is a Dutch Canadian Citizen and studied Medicine at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He trained as a pathologist and holds a doctorate in Immunopathology from the University of Groningen. He held postdoc positions at the University of Kiel in Germany and Harvard University in the USA. He has widely published on subjects in immunology, haematology, oncology and transplantation, his papers have been cited more than 18,500 times for an H-factor of 76 in Google Scholar, and he is among the top 2% highly cited authors in the world in the field of immunology. He is an expert in lymphoma pathology, especially in Hodgkin Lymphoma, and he has contributed to several Hematopathology textbooks.
He has held several academic leadership positions, most recently from 2008-2018 as President of the University of Groningen, a global top 100 university established in 1614, and as Dean and Vice President of the University Medical Center Groningen from 2009 to 2018. As president of the University of Groningen, he oversaw the rise of the university to place 59 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, as well as strong increases in student success and student satisfaction. Professor Poppema was the initiator of the Healthy Ageing focus at the University of Groningen and established the Biobank and Cohort study Lifelines. He also was one of the initiators of the New Energy Coalition and the zero-emission Energy Academy building. Finally, he was instrumental in establishing the University Campus Fryslan and the European Medical School Oldenburg Groningen. From 1995-1999, he was the chair and head of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine of the Academic Hospital Groningen. From 1987-1995 he was a Professor of Pathology and Oncology at the University of Alberta, Director of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Vice-President Research at the Cross Cancer Institute in Alberta, Canada.
On April 27, 2007, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands awarded Poppema a Knighthood in the Order of the Netherlands Lion for his scientific achievements. In 2020, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany awarded Poppema the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, for his achievements in strengthening scientific and educational ties between Germany and the Netherlands. Poppema has been a member of the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation (ACTI). He also was a recipient of the Medal of Honor of the City of Groningen, and of the Medal of Honor of the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg. Since October 2011 he has been the Honorary Consul General in the Northern Netherlands for the Republic of Korea.