Johan L. van Leeuwen is professor of Experimental Zoology at Wageningen University (1999–present).
Previously, he worked in the departments of biology and medical physiology of Leiden University and as guest professor in the university of Jena and Cambridge. He was Scientific Director of the graduate school WIAS (2016–2019), member of the World Council of Biomechanics (2004–2018), member of the Academic Board of Wageningen University (2005–2012), and Vice-president KNDV (Royal Dutch Zoological Society, 2001–2006). He has been and still is active in several editorial boards of peer reviewed journals, including an associate editorship and an editorship.
His current research interests include the biomechanics of animal motion systems, such as fish swimming, animal flight, muscle mechanics, and feeding dynamics with extensible soft tentacles in squid and tongues in amphibians and reptiles. He is also involved in biomimetics: unravelling mechanisms in nature with the aim to design new instruments for e.g. medical purposes. Recent topics include tree frog inspired soft gripping, steerable needles inspired by the ovipositor of parasitic wasps, and tentacle inspired soft robotics.