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Student Biomedical Sciences: Infection and Immunity

Yasmin de Wit
Photo: Yasmin de Wit

Background

‘Early on in my Bachelor’s programme Biomedical Sciences, I got more and more interested in immunological research. The immune system is one of the most fascinating mechanisms in our body, and I realized there is a lot we do not yet understand. After my internships at Sanquin at the Department of Molecular Cell Biology under supervision of Jaap van Buul and Jeffrey Kroon and the Department of Immunopathology under supervision of Robert Spaapen, it became clear that I wanted to continue in biomedical sciences, specialising in immunology. I chose to stay at the University of Amsterdam, because it has great collaborations with major institutes throughout the city. Therefore, students get lectures from leading scientists in the field.’

Programme

‘At the start of the Master’s programme we spent the first three months updating our knowledge about advanced immunology and medical biology. These first period is pretty intense, but will learn you a lot about recent developments in immunology and medical biology. We also used these months to improve our academic skills like writing, reading and presenting. After these obligatory courses I did fifteen months of internships. I split these between a seven month internship at the AMC at the Department Experimental Immunology under supervision of Sander Tas and Leonie Huitema and an eight month internship at the University of Glasgow, at the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation under supervision of Carl Goodyear and John Lockhart. During this period you will make the transition from being a student to a junior scientist. The internships greatly improved my academic skills and gave me a taste of what being a researcher is like. During the two years of the Master’s programme, my two track coordinators were great helps. They are always there for their students for advice and guidance.’

Student life

‘Besides studying, I spend most of my time working at a supermarket. Also, I volunteer in a nursing home in Huizen. Up until last year I also did a lot of ballet, but since this year I switched to Body balance, Pilates and Yoga. Next to all this I also try to have a social life. Although I never lived in Amsterdam, I have spent a lot of time sipping wine with my fellow students in a local pub.’