Previous Institution: Universiteit Utrecht
I was born and raised in the medium-sized city of Utrecht, The Netherlands -- a true competitor for overly-touristic Amsterdam as the best city in The Netherlands. A little paralyzed by the big life-decision of what to study, I took a gap year after high school during which I worked full-time in a bakery, backpacked through South America, and eventually decided to study Ecology. However, after only one semester of Molecular & Cell Biology, I switched gears and never looked back. I worked in the lab of Professor Edwin Cuppen for my undergraduate thesis research, studying the societal and scientific value of a single-genome. It was during this time that whole-genome sequencing was slowly making its way into the clinics and it got me fascinated by the field of cancer genomics. After graduation, I spent 6 months fulfilling a long-standing dream of hiking the Nepalese Himalayas. I came back to Utrecht and proceeded with a master's degree (Cancer, Genomics, Stem Cells & Developmental Biology). During this time, I was exposed to many different angles of molecular biology. First, I worked in the lab of Dr. Wigard Kloosterman, extracting recurrent structural variants from pan-cancer genomic data and CRISPR'ing those into cell lines to study their functional effect. Then, I did my literature thesis work with Professor Annelien Bredenoord on the ethical and societal implications of human germline editing by the novel CRISPR/Cas9 technique. Finally, I worked in the lab of Professor Berend Snel, studying the timing of the acquisition of the mitochondrion by phylogenic analysis of protein families. In the summer of 2016, I moved to Boston to work in the lab of Professor Michael Yaffe, where I studied substrate specificity of Ser/Thr-kinases by means of oriented peptide library screening. After two years in Boston I moved again to start my PhD at Columbia. I joined the labs of Neel Shah (Chemistry) and Marko Jovanovic (Biological Sciences) at the end of my first year. I am currently working on the interactome of Tyr-kinases and phosphatases. When I am not in the lab, I am probably out practicing photography, eating new foods or just exploring the endless city that is New York.