During my Bachelor in Biotechnology at WU I became interested in immunology and how to tackle autoimmune disorders. During my bachelor thesis at the Nematology department I explored the possibilities to produce an immunomodulatory protein from the trematode Schistosoma mansoni in the tobacco plant Nicotiana benthamiana.
The immunomodulatory properties of S. mansoni towards a T-helper 2 response are thought to be caused by IL-4-inducing Principle of S. mansoni eggs, also known as IPSE. Thus this protein may have therapeutic potential for treatment of autoimmune disorders. After successful production of the protein in tobacco plants research teams in Leiden and Germany are now investigating its therapeutic potential.
While the laboratory had become my second home for these four months, the people in the Nematology department had certainly become family and lifelong friends. On a professional level the thesis ring and regular colloquia created a transparent and trusting atmosphere. But this was not restricted to the academic environment. Fun activities after work, such as laser gaming, BBQs, “save the ducks on the roof terrace”-events and cake parties made it some special four months.