Doing an internship with a focus on nematology was an interesting but also challenging opportunity for me, especially since I focussed my masters more on natural resource management. At the beginning of March 2021, I started my internship at the research department of the seed production and breeding company Vandinter Semo (located in the province of Groningen). One of the key business activities of this company is the development of nematode-resistant cover crop varieties. My internship focussed on the development of a protocol for the propagation and preservation of Ditylenchus dipsaci (D. dipsaci). It was therefore a natural fit to conduct this internship with the chair group of Nematology under the supervision of Mark Sterken.
During the four months of my internship, I conducted multiple pot experiments under controlled environmental conditions. My main experiments were focused on in vivo inoculation of broad bean plants (Vicia faba L.) since it is known that this plant species is a good host plant for multiple races of D. dipsaci. I infected these broad beans with a narcissus strain of D. dipsaci to determine the efficiency of propagation over multiple timesteps. With this same population, I also did multiple preservation experiments to find an easy and cheap method to store a known number of nematodes over a certain timeframe. I gained both theoretical and practical experience from this internship and I enjoyed learning more about the interaction between plants and nematodes
The guidance from the Nematology group during my internship was a very helpful addition to my internship. For instance, Mark helped me to conduct the data analysis in R and provided feedback on the paper that I had written as part of the internship. Although the primary guidance of my internship came from my internship company I was still able to experience the open and social atmosphere within the Nematology group during for instance the student symposia. With that in mind, I believe that doing an internship under the supervision of this chair group supported my overall learning process during the internship. I can therefore well relate to the other testimonials from my peers published on this page.