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Niels Klaassen is a PhD candidate in the chair group Nutrition and Disease. He is working on dietary fiber (diversity), microbial metabolism and recovery after surgery and chemotherapy in patients with colorectal cancer.
Niels obtained his BSc degree in Food Technology from the Wageningen University in 2020, with a minor in Nutrition and Health. Subsequently, he received his MSc degree in Nutrition and Health at Wageningen University in 2022. Based on his background in both Food and Nutrition Sciences, Niels is specialized in dietary fiber and the gut microbiota in relation to intestinal health. In 2022, Niels started as a PhD candidate in the chair group of Nutrition and Disease under supervision of Dr. Dieuwertje Kok and Prof. Ellen Kampman. His PhD project has an interdisciplinary approach including nutritional, (micro)biological, and clinical aspects, as Niels is also supervised by Dr. Erwin Zoetendal (Laboratory of Microbiology) and Dr. Edoardo Capuano (Food Quality and Design) at Wageningen University.
Niels wrote the research proposal for the PhD project himself, which was awarded with a PhD fellowship by the VLAG Graduate School. The coming years, he is working on the role of dietary fiber and microbial metabolism in relation to side-effects of cancer treatment in patients with colorectal cancer. These side-effects include postoperative complications of surgery and chemotherapy-induced toxicities. To study this, Niels will combine data from an observational study (i.e., COLON study), in vitro studies, and an intervention study. His research not only focuses on the impact of dietary fiber quantity, but also investigates fiber type and fiber diversity which are understudied concepts in the field of nutrition and disease. With his PhD project, Niels aims to contribute to new strategies to support recovery after surgery or chemotherapy in patients with colorectal cancer, which will ultimately improve the patient’s quality of life and prognosis.