Student testimonial

Testimonial Sonja van der Wal

Before the summer, I started my master thesis at the Laboratory of Nematology. After the first few months, I already noticed the effects of the pandemic on my thesis research, since I was not able to go to the laboratory. Over time, my thesis became a full bioinformatics thesis.

Sonja van der Wal
What I have learnt most from this thesis is that (almost) all struggles can be overcome, as long you work together and hold on to finding a solution
Sonja van der Wal

Since I did not have a good background in bioinformatics, I was lucky to have good supervision of my supervisor.  In a fast pace, I understood bioinformatics better and I was getting used to work at home. The weekly meetings with my supervisor, thesis students and team meetings made my thesis at Nematology great during these corona times, since I got the idea I was still part of a team.

My master research project was about investigating the role of auxin in relation to plant parasitism. Plant parasitic nematodes cause huge crop losses and economic problems. The infection process of the plant parasitic nematode starts by initiating the nematode feeding site. This feeding site is the only source of nutrients for the nematode, and without it, the nematode will not survive. Thus, manipulation of the feeding site could be a control of nematodes. Previous research has shown that auxin (Indole Acetic Acid, IAA) is crucial for the development of such a feeding site, and it accumulates at the feeding site.

During this thesis I worked closely together with Matthijs Oosterbeek (my supervisor) and Andre Bertran. They both helped me to overcome all the struggles that bioinformatics come along with. What I have learnt most from this thesis is that (almost) all struggles can be overcome, as long you work together and hold on to finding a solution. I enjoyed working with Matthijs and Andre, since they are both positive people, very openminded and encouraging. I enjoyed having learnt so much from this thesis; not only bioinformatical, but also personal. I am really glad I got the opportunity to pursue my thesis at Nematology!