Roel studied physics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and subsequently obtained a PhD in atomic and laser physics. His research focused on XUV frequency metrology using ultrashort laser pulses, but also included building a terawatt class laser system for XUV generation. He then switched to medical physics: after doing a four-year residency at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, he started to work as a registered medical physicist in radiation oncology at the Leiden University Medical Center. Apart from the regular clinical duties, he took up responsibility for all IT-related work in the department and worked extensively on improving and automating the clinical workflow in the department, often using web-based tools. Over the years, he became experienced in topics like interoperability, data security, workflow support, medical image processing and data warehousing. Deciding to focus on software development full time, Roel joined the eScience Center in 2018.