I am Vidya Vuruputoor, a MSc student studying plant biotechnology, with a specialization in molecular plant breeding and phytopathology. I worked in the Lab of Nematology for my master’s thesis, focusing on the genome annotation of the beet cyst nematode, H. schachtii.
Over the course of the six-month project, I was supervised by Martijn Holterman and Hans Helder. The project was mostly centered around bioinformatics. I learnt quite a bit on the process of genome annotation. Seeing how intensive the annotation process could be, it really made me appreciate the level of detail that goes into properly annotating a genome. There are a lot of discussions that go into such a process, making sure that the prediction of the number/function of genes is within a certain level of estimate. Given my shy personality, it took me a while to adjust in the lab- however, everyone I met there received me with a great smile and an interest in what I was working on. I loved the discussions I had with everyone around me, and I realized that in that process, I really started to like what I was studying. The highlight for me was that I got to meet other scientists who also worked in the same field, and that I was given the opportunity to meet them and listen to their ideas as well. I always believe that a major part of a student’s interest in a subject is shaped by those who guide them, and I’m really grateful to every single person who sat down with me and helped me throughout my thesis. My supervisors were really kind, inviting me to many dinners and lunches, and that really made me feel less hesitant and more relaxed around them. In the end, I learnt two things from my experience- I’m really interested in the field of nematology, and I feel that I’m a bit more self-confident. Really grateful for the experience.