I’m Rutger Baan and I did my bachelor thesis at the department Nematology. I applied for a place at the nematode department and some weeks after that I had a conversation with dr.ir. Geert Smant. He told me about the overall scheme of his department, which is very interesting.
They try to figure out how to reduce the threat of nematodes to cultivated plants in the world. If this is possible, many people can be helped and a lot of money is saved. My research was about plant peptides in tomato plants. These peptides play a key role in the response to nematodes. The objective was to investigate the role of these peptides in plant defence and signalling. Jose Lozano Torres works on this topic and I did a small sub-part of his research. I managed to find some interesting results and I added some value to the research of the department.
What I really appreciated on this department was that the supervisors and professors are really flexible and relaxed. If you would like to start 10.30 a.m. it’s fine, as long as you manage to keep track. Besides this I did not feel the pressure to perform all the time. You are also not stuck behind a desk, because you need to do a lot of lab work and can turn on your own music meanwhile. If your lab work goes wrong, you don’t need to worry and just redo it again. There is a lot of assistance on the lab. This holds also true for the academic skills, there is a lot of guidance.
I recommend the department nematology to you all. The program of the department is no-nonsense, there are no floating topics involved, but it is really applicable. There is also a good atmosphere and they will definitely guide you through the process.