Jeroen Kalkman was born in Velsen, The Netherlands. He received a VWO degree (pre-university education) in 1993 at the 'oecomenische scholengemeenschap het Baken' in Almere. From 1994 he studied experimental physics at the Free University Amsterdam. The study was completed with a final experimental research project that was done at the Solid State Physics department. The scope of this work was `Hydrogen diffusion in YMg alloys' and was performed under the supervision of Prof. Dr. R. Griessen. In 2001 he started as a Ph. D. student at the FOM Institute of Atomic and Molecular Physics in the Photonic Materials group under supervision of Prof. Dr. A. Polman. Subject of the research was 'Controlled spontaneous emission in erbium-doped microphotonic materials'. He defended his thesis on March 9th, 2005 at the University of Utrecht.

He spend two years in the Biomedical Photonics group at Philips NatLab in Eindhoven. After that he moved back to academia and worked in the department of Biomedical Engineering and Physics at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. There his focus was on the imaging technique called optical coherence tomography (OCT). Currently, he is at the Delft University of Technology working in the Department of Imaging Physics, faculty of Applied Sciences.