The scientists from WUR who will reflect on the Keynote during the Opening of the Academic Year are:
Jessica Duncan Originally from Canada, Jessica Duncan is an Assistant Professor in Rural Sociology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. She holds a PhD in Food Policy from City, University of London. Jessica is passionate about food policy and sociology. Her main research focus concerns the practices and politics of participation in food policy processes, particularly the formal and informal relationships between governance organisations, systems of food provisioning, the environment and the actors engaged in and across these spaces. More specifically, she maps the diverse ways that actors participate in policy-making processes, analysing how the resulting policies are shaped, implemented, challenged and resisted and she theorises about what this means for socio-ecological transformation. She is a member of the Wageningen Young Academy and sits on the Sustainability Board of Experts at Wageningen University. She also works as an Associate Editor for the journal Food Security and is an advisor to the Traditional Cultures Project. In 2017 she was awarded Teacher of the Year at Wageningen University. Her latest book is an edited volume called Sustainable food futures: Multidisciplinary solutions (2017).
Joost de Jong I work at the Resource Ecology Group, where I am in the last phase of my PhD research project and involved in various BSc and MSc courses. For my PhD research project, I study genetic variation of large wildlife populations. I aim to decipher how this variation has been shaped by the historic geography of the landscape, as well by recent anthropogenic influences. To this end, I analyse SNP genotyping datasets of wild boar and red deer across the entire European continent on a large scale and also on a small scale by focusing on regions such as the Veluwe forest. My PhD research project lies close to my main interest, which is the natural history and conservation of vertebrates. The latter will be the framework from which I will reflect on the theme of ‘Science as a basis for optimism’.
Wen Ying Wu, who is of Chinese descent, was born and raised in Aruba. In 2010 she came to Wageningen for the biotechnology BSc programme. During her BSc in 2012, she went to Cornell University in the United States for a minor in wine and beer technology. She obtained her BSc in biotechnology in 2013 and started her MSc in Biotechnology in the same year at Wageningen University. During her MSc she did her thesis as part of the 2014 iGEM (the international Genetically Engineered Machine Competition in synthetic biology) ‘BananaGuard’ project where she was the team captain. Her team was very successful and was awarded second place for the graduate division. After iGEM, Wen did her internship at Imperial College London and finished her MSc in Molecular Biotechnology in the fall of 2015. In March 2016, she started her PhD under Professor John van der Oost in the Microbiology laboratory. In her PhD, she studies CRISPR, a bacterial adaptive immune system against viruses. In particular, Wen studies how bacteria acquire immunity in different types of CRISPR systems. In addition, she is also working on harnessing new types of CRISPR systems and repurposing them for genome editing in bacteria. She is now also a proud supervisor of this year’s iGEM 2017 team. She loves her job as a PhD student and is enjoying everything that Wageningen has to offer.