Before getting started with the “real” thesis work one has to decide which department is the one of one’s choice. Probably for some students that’s an easy decision, but for me it was definitely not. I made several appointments at different departments and talked to many people about a diversity of thesis topics. It seemed to become a very tough decision at the end, but then I visited the department of Nematology. Immediately, I got a good feeling walking through the corridors of Nematology and talking to my future supervisor and as we say in German I decided to trust my “Bauchgefühl”.
A few months later I started doing my thesis at NEMA. It was about potato cyst nematodes and the immune response of tomato seedlings as being their host. I grew tomato seedlings and tested several tomato genes with presumably defence-related functions for differential expression during nematode infection. Initially, I was deeply disappointed about my results, because I had hoped for a clear outcome. Instead, my results were hard to interpret and some of them were even contradicting each other. I had to accept that in science you hardly get plain and definite results when performing your experiments for the first time. After learning this first lesson it became easier and I learned to be happy with my result. At the end, even a result which you did not expect and cannot understand immediately can be very interesting and can yield new insights.
Working at NEMA, I found myself in a very dynamic group of passionate researchers, professional lab experts and ambitious students. Most of all, I was impressed of the relaxed and nice atmosphere and the open-mindedness of NEMA in total. What’s really nice at NEMA is that you get to know your fellow thesis students and other people at the department very well, because you meet in “thesis rings”, get familiar with each other’s work and socialize during coffee, lunch and afternoon-coffee breaks. Being part of the NEMA group was a lot of fun and after all I would advise to other thesis students to grasp the chance to do your thesis at NEMA. The supervision is really good and it will definitely be a nice experience. My conclusion is that my first “Bauchgefühl” was definitely right. I had a nice time doing my thesis.