Fascinated by the human immune system and the promising role of plants as protein production platform, I found an interesting topic at the Laboratory of Nematology.
Since helminths (parasitic worms) are able to invade the human body by evading the immune system in a very well-thought way, to some extent able to ‘educate’ our immune system. This suggests a pharmaceutical role of certain proteins of the helminths. My thesis focussed on the synthesis of a specific glycan-structure attached to one of these proteins. When writing my proposal, it became clear to me that writing a thesis at nematology is a well-structured process. Without becoming a number, all thesis-students are taken into the routine of doing research. Although the laboratory consists of several small research-groups, all students and staff are well able to support each other. For example during the well-organized thesis rings, in which students comment on each other’s writing. In this way you are involved in other research fields and meanwhile you learn more about how to write your own thesis. Also during the labwork, the atmosphere was supportive. No closed doors or stupid questions, but supportive advice from the dedicated staff on the lab. This gives you the feeling that you matter as a student. Although a thesis is an individual part of your studies, the atmosphere at nematology never gave me a ‘lonely’ feeling. I enjoyed my time at nematology and learned a lot. Not only about doing research, but also about backing cakes. Several times a week there is cake during the coffee break, the best moment to discuss non-research related issues.