For my master in cell biology, I wrote my second thesis at the laboratory of Nematology. For 8 months I worked under the supervision of Jan Kammenga and Mark Sterken on a newly discovered virus that infects nematodes.
When I started my thesis, the new virus had only been discovered about a year earlier. This meant that the research on the new virus was wide open, which made for a very challenging thesis. I loved working on the frontiers of science, as this forced me to really think of what I was doing and gave me the opportunity to get results that were completely new. Not often do you get such an opportunity as a student, and I think this illustrates the group atmosphere well. The Nematology group has a high focus on education as they are involved a multitude of courses and supervise many students with their theses. You realize that when you walk in on your first day and find your work space (with your name on it) outfitted with a chair (with your name on it) and your very own set of pipets (with your name on each of the pipets). I got to work with expensive microarrays (72 of them) and learned to program in the “R” software, which required a lot of time and effort from Mark. All of this makes you feel like you are part of the team and like you are actually contributing to the research, which is not something you will experience in many other research groups. After I finished my thesis, Jan set me up with a research group in Toronto for an internship. In short, I owe this group a lot and would definitely recommend anyone to do their thesis here.