For my master thesis at the laboratory of nematology I studied the functionality of trematode glycosyltransferases when expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana. Glycosyltransferase enzymes are involved in the glycosylation of proteins within the ER and Golgi system. We studied ten different enzymes by expressing them in plants and screening co-expressed proteins for which glycans they carried.
I worked as first student under the supervision of Kim van Noort. This meant that we had to set up all the prerequisites of the experiments together, in order to be able to start the functionality tests. So together we cloned each enzymes in four different constructs, resulting in forty cloned construct by the two of us. It was a fun experience to work together with Kim on the cloning, sharing the frustrations of mysteriously failed cloning steps and the joys when that one particularly stubborn gene fragment was finally in the correct construct.
The lab was a good work environment to do this. There were always people around to ask questions to: lab technicians, other MSc and BSc students, PhD-students and post-docs. All of them were always happy to help and even kept an eye out if I was trying new procedures I wasn’t all too familiar with.
Since there are a lot of students doing their thesis at nematology the atmosphere is quite nice. I felt connected with the other students, sharing experiences and tips, laughs and drinks, frustrations and struggles. The thesis rings also help with that: providing feedback on each other’s written performances and learning a lot from each other. All in all a very nice experience and group to learn a lot about performing research and acting within a research group.