I arrived at Wageningen intending to learn more about molecular farming and see whether this topic was indeed my favourite research field. And after doing my MSc thesis in Nematology, I can convincedly say that I fulfilled my goal of learning and confirm that I really like molecular farming.
Although I asked dr. Arjen Schots for a project long before my time to start the thesis, he immediately replied to me and put the effort to make a place for me in his group. Thereafter, Dr. Ruud Wilbers contacted me to show me the available projects and to kindly ask for my preferences. By telling this, I just wanted to express that they cared about the organization and my wellness since the very beginning.
My thesis project was about exploring the synthesis of immunomodulatory glycoproteins produced by nematodes to replicate this synthesis in planta. The plant-based synthesis of these glycoproteins would enable large-scale production of potential biopharmaceuticals. Consequently, during my practical work, I had the great opportunity to work both with nematodes (Caenorhabditis elegans) and plants (Nicotiana benthamiana). So, I learned very different techniques and skills that made me feel always enthusiastic to go to the laboratory.
Also, a big part of keeping the enthusiasm during my thesis came from the nice supervision that I had. Dr. Ruud Wilbers was the person that supervised my entire work. He gave me the freedom and the responsibility for organizing my work and he always had the time if I needed his guidance and advice. As my project was a bit broad, I also had another supervisor, Joost Riksen, to guide me with the nematode handling, and the experience working with him was very nice. Moreover, every time that I had any kind of issue or doubt, there was always anyone in the department willing to help me. Technicians, teachers, students, secretaries... All the people in Nematology are always ready to give a helping hand. The friendly environment of this department makes everything wide easier. Also, updating's meetings with the group and thesis rings are really useful to receive feedback and improve yourself. In conclusion, I have had a great time during my thesis in Nematology. I have learned a lot and I gained self-confidence for facing my future career. Definitely, I made the right decision applying for a thesis in Nematology!