My main reason to choose for the Green Life Sciences Master's programme at the UvA was that it fits perfectly at the interface of molecular biology and ecology. For my first internship I picked the Plant Physiology department where I worked on salt stress signalling in Arabidopsis. I really enjoyed the motivating and supportive atmosphere in the group. I acquired knowledge of a wide range of molecular and biochemical techniques, like assays on the protein-lipid binding, but also observed phenotypic changes in the plant’s root system architecture related to salt stress.
Since the Master's allows you to go abroad, for my 2nd internship I went to the CSIRO Plant Science lab in Canberra, Australia in order to study germination and dormancy processes in wheat and barley grains. During this period I learned new biochemical assays, microscopy techniques and did wheat-oriented molecular work. While working upside-down with Australian scientists I got heaps of new knowledge, experiences, and ideas.
After my return from Australia I started my PhD at the Plant Physiology department at the UvA. In my project I am looking for natural variation in salt tolerance in Arabidopsis, focusing at root system architecture. This will probably unravel new salt tolerance mechanisms that naturally evolved during Arabidopsis adaptation to saline environments. The part of the project that is most appealing to me is the combination of different disciplines such as ecology and molecular biology to discover novel mechanisms behind the salt tolerance.