Can you describe briefly who you are and what you are currently doing?
"I’m Vidya, and I have received a Master’s in Plant Biotechnology from Wageningen University & Research. I’m currently doing my PhD. at the University of Connecticut. I’m working with a fantastic lab that mostly deals with plant computational genomics, and I’m looking to apply these concepts in understanding the interaction between an invasive pest (hemlock woolly adelgid) and the eastern hemlocks."
When did you first hear about your study programme and what did you think about it?
"I first heard about this programme while I was working with a professor on several projects during my bachelor's studies. She recommended that I apply to WUR. Mostly because she saw my interest in plant biotechnology, and she thought it would be a good match. I applied and was accepted into the MSc Plant Biotechnology programme.
I didn’t know much to start with, except for the fact that I liked plants and genomics. The moment that I knew I was in the right programme was actually because of a course- Plant-Microbe Interactions. This course not only taught me really interesting concepts of this type of interaction, but it exposed me to some passionate professors and exciting labs. My experience with this course led me to my thesis in the Lab of Nematology, and consequently, the topic of my PhD. today."
Could you tell us something about your study programme? Which part of your study did you find the most interesting?
"I first chose the ‘Plant functional genomics’ specialisation, thinking that this was something I would be interested in. As I mentioned earlier, I became interested in plant-microbe interactions. Since choosing classes is flexible at WUR, I ended up taking a lot of courses that revolved around this specialisation.
On the other hand, I realised that I had taken up a liking towards bioinformatics, and I ended up doing a minor in this subject. I guess I was really lucky to have had opportunities in my thesis as well as in my internship to use the two concepts together. Applying bioinformatics to understanding plant-microbe interactions. In the end, I changed my specialisation to plant pathology and plant breeding, with a minor in bioinformatics."
What do you do besides studying?
"I was on the board of the Indian Students Association at WUR. Also, I really love singing so I joined ‘SOL’, a student singing group. Those sessions were such a stress buster!"
What do you think about the student life in Wageningen?
"Wageningen is a really great place to find a perfect group of friends! It took me a bit to find my set of friends, but we soon became family. I only have good memories of my student life in Wageningen."