Riks Maas graduated from Utrecht University as Medical Biologist in 1987 (cum laude). As a PhD student he worked in the department of Experimental Pathology of Utrecht Medical Centre and studied immunotherapy of cancer with interleukin-2 in mice models. He completed his thesis at Utrecht University in 1991. Between 1992 and 1995 he worked as a postdoc at the Netherlands Cancer Institute at the department of Molecular Pathology. Research subject was the identification of early molecular markers of breast cancer treatment response. In 1996 he moved to the Central Veterinary Institute of Wageningen UR and started working on the efficacy and potency of poultry vaccines against Newcastle Disease, Gumboro Disease and Avian Influenza. Next to his work as a research scientist, he was responsible for the work with genetically modified organisms as Biosafety Officer. In 2005 he became coordinator of projects on the assessment of licensing dossiers for veterinary medicines and in 2008 he became head of the cluster of Avian Virology. Subsequently, he became head of the department of Virology in 2010.
In the department of Virology approximately 40 research scientists and technicians work on veterinary virology, with focus on diagnostics, vaccine development, measurement of virus transmission, vector born viruses and zoonoses.