Alumnus testimonial

Career Pieter de Visser - MSc Molecular Life Sciences

“Hi everyone, my name is Pieter de Visser – very Dutch indeed. During my first year of the BSc Molecular Life Sciences at the WUR, I was already captured by the programme’s focus on fundamental science. I really enjoy learning about how beautifully organized many natural phenomena are. Furthermore, I have a broad interest in people and culture, which is why I studied Philosophy for one year before starting the master’s Molecular Life Sciences, and why I love to read literature and historical non-fiction."

This course inspired me to start my own PhD project

A daunting task?

"I chose to follow the Research Master Cluster (RMC) course, since communicating clearly about what you have studied in your experiments and computer simulations was a big challenge for me. This intensive course proved to be a very educational experience. We had to write a research proposal in a rather short period of time, and give weekly presentations about our progress. This may sound like a daunting task – at least I thought at the start of the course. However, with the support of the coaches and the insights obtained during the feedback sessions, it is definitely doable."

Squeezing plants

"The subject of my research proposal is the effect of biomechanical signals on the embryogenesis of Arabidopsis plants. We proposed a method to track the changes in gene expression when Arabidopsis cells are exposed to mechanical stresses by squeezing. If you want to finish the RMC course successfully, it is very important to enjoy writing about research, which I did. My personal coach has submitted an elaborated version of my research proposal to NWO (the Dutch Science Organization that appoints grants), so this is very exciting and I hope to continue the research during my own PhD.

I learned a lot about writing scientifically. For example, offering concise and familiar examples is a great way to spice up a scientific text. Furthermore, the group feedback sessions were a great way to learn about my personal writing strengths and weaknesses. Overall, the RMC course was very intensive but educational, and that is why I would definitely recommend it!”