Aldo Dekker studied veterinary science at the University of Utrecht and obtained his DVM in 1988. After working for 16 months at the regional animal health service he started to work at the Central Veterinary Institute (now Wageningen Bioveterinary Science) in 1990. He started work on bovine viral diarrhea virus, but moved to the laboratory for vesicular diseases in 1991. Initially he was mainly involved in quality control and registration studies for foot-and-mouth disease vaccine, but after the 1992 swine vesicular disease outbreaks the research focussed on pathogenesis, diagnosis and epizootiology of swine vesicular disease, on which defended his PhD thesis in 2000. To be able to provide the government with better "risk based" advice he took a MSc course in veterinary epidemiology and economics, which he finished in 2003. The last 10 years the research focused on quantification of foot-and-mouth disease transmission with and without vaccination. The experimental studies on transmission provided the basis for risk-based models that were used to optimise the Dutch contingency plans for foot-and-mouth disease.