During my bachelor thesis I did research on VAPs, so-called Venom Allergen-like proteins which are secreted by helminths. For 8 weeks I performed experiments to investigate which Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are modulated by the VAPs. These receptors are present on antigen-presenting cells, e.g. dendritic cells, and are used to recognize pathogens.
Previous experiments done by other students suggested immunomodulation of the TLRs, and I continued to work on this hypothesis. Really interesting results have been obtained, giving me great satisfaction. I have been supervised by Geert Smant and Ruud Wilbers, which was a bit of a strange combination because they work in different groups within the chair group. Actually it was quite useful, cause now I had contact with different people from both groups, and not only one. Geert and Ruud learned me a lot, like how to write a proposal, a report and how to interpret data. I also obtained much practical experience in the lab, especially with using ELISA and cell cultures.
Altogether I’m very happy I did my bachelor thesis at the chair group Nematology. The people at this group are fun, the work atmosphere is relaxed, the workplaces where students can work are fine and the emphasis that students are here to learn is really present. I would recommend this group to students who are interested in immunology, genetic engineering, plant parasitology and nematology.