Hello, my name is Annieck and I am a biotechnology student. I’ve been working on my bachelor thesis for four months (24 credits) at Nematology. During the four months I spent at Nematology I have been studying the effect of the mushroom Agaricus bisporus (white button mushroom; in Dutch it is called ‘champignon’) on the immunity of mice.
I had to culture bone marrow cells and add factors to induce differentiation towards dendritic cells. When these cells were fully differentiated I stimulated them with an extract of different varieties of A. bisporus. In one set up I only stimulated dendritic cells whereas in another set up I also isolated T cells and added them to the dendritic cells. This way you can see if the adaptive immune system is activated too. In total I tested about 35 different varieties. After stimulation cells began to produce cytokines. These cytokines were measured with the ELISA technique. Based on the cytokine production we could draw conclusions on the effect of mushrooms on the innate and adaptive immunity. We could for example see if a pro- or anti-inflammatory response was initiated, and to which kind of T helper cells the naïve T cells differentiated.
I had weekly meetings with the LMA group (in which I was working). During these meetings the students told each other what they had been doing, which problems they encountered, possible solutions, etc. Those meetings were a good way to discuss problems and also to learn how to read scientific articles, since we also had several literature discussions during these months. In my experience the chair group Nematology is a nice group of people that create a good ambiance to work in as a student. Something I found quite funny is that the chair group always seemed to find a reason to have cake, pie, or another treat during the morning coffee break.