The Laboratory of Nematology has always had a popular reputation amongst students. Prior to my stay, I couldn’t fully grasp why that is. However, after nearly 7 months of the ‘Nematology experience’, I can now finally understand. Of course, the annual labuitjes and ‘coffee-break cake fests’ have a big role in this say. From the get-go, however, I have been more impressed at the approach and quality of supervision.
I came to the Nematology department to work on my MSc thesis under the supervision of Aska Goverse and Erik Slootweg. My project revolved around a set of putative interactors of the Rx1 and Gpa2 immune receptors. The central question raised was (deceivingly) simple: “Why are these proteins interacting?” To provide an answer, we performed a range of assays from expression analysis to proteomic studies. Although the project felt daunting at times, it helped immensely to have the experts available in-house and often, only a seat away. The weekly work meetings were also great opportunities to receive insightful feedbacks and exchange ideas. What I appreciated most, however, was the freedom to steer the direction of the research project and as an aspiring academic, I couldn’t ask for more.
Overall, the Nematology department provides a nurturing environment that molds its students into independent, critical thinkers. Very rarely can one find a place with such balance and for that I will always be grateful.