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Tjard Schermer was born on 23 January 1967 in Ede, the Netherlands. After graduating as a physiotherapist in 1989 he practised physiotherapy full-time for three years. From 1991 to 1996 he studied Biomedical Health Sciences at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre while working part-time as a physiotherapist. During his study in Nijmegen he developed a special interest in research in the epidemiology, diagnostics and management of chronic diseases.

In 1996 he started working for the COPD & Asthma Research Unit of the Department of Primary and Community Care (until 1 January 2009: Department of General Practice) of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, first as a research assistant but after one year as a junior researcher.

On 6 April 2005 he defended his doctoral thesis entitled 'Optimizing health care for patients with COPD or asthma in Dutch general practice' (cum laude). Since 2003 he is the director of the COPD & Asthma Research & Development Unit, and in that position the (executive) project leader of a number (>20) primary care studies in the field of chronic (respiratory) diseases. On 1 September 2009 he was appointed as the Principal Investigator for the department's research theme 'Chronic Diseases & Care for the Elderly' and on 1 May 2012 as the department's Director of Research. He holds a visiting associate professorship at the Primary Care Respiratory Research Unit of the Department of General Practice of the University of Adelaide, Australia.

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