My journey at the department of Nematology started years ago. I was a BSc Biology student that never seemed to fit in. Most courses were very interesting, but large lecture rooms filled with huge amounts of noisy students was not the right combination for me.
When I finally joined the course Molecular Aspects of Bio-Interactions things drastically changed. Together within a small group of students I worked on a mini-project, investigating the effects of nematode-secreted SPRYSECs on plant immunity. We were supervised by Wiebe Post. He advised me to contact the department of Nematology to explore possibilities of doing a research project on plant immunity during my BSc so I could ‘escape’ the large lecture rooms and start enjoying myself. Soon after that conversation I contacted Aska Goverse and Erin Bakker and never looked back again.
I started working on the characterization of a novel RING finger protein in potato. This project was supposed to cover only 6 Ects, but because I finally found something I really enjoyed doing I decided to dedicate my BSc thesis to it as well. During my MSc I decided to do a follow-up project on the same subject under supervision of Aska Goverse and Erik Slootweg.
However, my fascination for the immune system does not only cover plant immunity and phytopathology. Part of me also wanted to explore human immunity and the effects of natural foods on our health. Because the department of Nematology offers such a broad spectrum of topics I was able to find my second thesis subject within the same department, but now in the LMA group of Arjen Schots. There I worked on mushroom modulation of Th2 immune responses for six months.
During all my time at Nematology I learned a great deal about myself. I enjoy working in a lab with inspired researchers. I acquired a lot of new lab skills, writing skills and discovered that my passion lies in research. I will always remember the humor that filled the lab and all the people that were always happy to help me out or just listen to what I had to say.