After finishing my major thesis on molecular metabolomics of tomato, I knew I wanted to do something different. Thus, I looked for a minor thesis project about QTL analysis that included programming in R. From several emails I sent to many departments, the one that came back with welcome reply was from Jan-Kammenga. It might be destiny, because then I was given a project that contained all I wanted to learn for a thesis and a very great supervisor, Mark Sterken.
My thesis was about identifying natural variation in Caenorhabditis elegans that regulate their body-size parameters under different temperatures. This project was an “out of comfort zone” experience for me, since I did not have any experience in quantitative genetics, coding with R, and statistics. Yet, that’s what I wanted to learn, and Mark provided me with all the tools and techniques to fulfill my needs. I learned basic R from scratch and Mark showed me how to do it. He also patiently explained to me all the statistical and genetics parameters that I had to use in my analysis. I was really satisfied with the results of my thesis and what I learned during the four months.
It was a really nice time doing a thesis at Nematology. My supervisor gave me freedom on how I want to do my project. He gave me time to really grasp and learn R by myself and when I got stuck, he was always available anytime to answer my question. It gave me chances to explore my capabilities and go beyond to improve myself. It was not only about results, but also learning new skills and techniques was prioritized.
The atmosphere of Nematology was always nice, warm, and comfortable. You surely can learn from everyone, including fellow students. We had thesis ring every week which was very valuable to give you input on how to improve your writing. I believe doing a thesis at Laboratory of Nematology is a great chance to learn many new things and you won’t regret it.