I did my MSc thesis at the laboratory of Nematology, supervised by Paula Harkes and Hans Helder. The aim of the project was identify the effects of compost amendment on the rhizosphere community. With the use of high throughput sequencing techniques, all organisms in the soil are identified, consisting of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and metazoans (nematodes). We observed a difference between the active and residual community, and some indications for an effect of compost amendment on the rhizosphere community.
I had already written my BSc thesis at the laboratory of Nematology, and when I came knocking again I was lucky enough that a spot was still available. My wish was to work on a project that included some lab work, so they gave me 2 months’ worth, more than I could have hoped for. Furthermore, there is a lot of freedom included. You have some influence on how the project is shaped, and can work independent. They have plenty of computers for students, so you can work at the department every day. This way you can always pop in on your supervisor or do some quick work in the lab. We also had weekly work meetings, were everyone in the biodiversity group would share their accomplishments of the past week. This is one of the best ways to get an insight of the daily life of a researcher. Lastly, Nematology has thesis rings set up for their students. A great way to have your own work checked, but also to learn from each other’s writing styles or share tips.
The atmosphere at Nematology is one of the best I have come across so far. Everyone is very friendly and open. There are coffee breaks where everyone comes to chat with one another, and about once a week someone brings cake. On top of that there are some extra special events where everyone is welcome, like the Christmas lunch or the lab outings. I would highly recommend to do a thesis at the laboratory of Nematology.