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Tessa Hemrika
Photo: Tessa Hemrika

Study choice

‘My study choice was not easy. After high school I debated between pursuing business studies or medicines, but I wasn’t really convinced. I always enjoyed biology classes, in particular the classes where we were introduced in the cellular and molecular processes involved in health and disease. When my parents suggested Biomedical Sciences and I read the description of the bachelor on the UvA website, I immediately knew I found the right Bachelor’s programme. I chose the UvA because I wanted to stay in my home town Amsterdam and the Science Park offers a lot of great research facilities.’

Biochemistry and Metabolic Diseases & Science and Society

‘After the Bachelor’s programme, I followed the track Biochemistry and Metabolic Diseases in the Research Master’s Biomedical Sciences. The biochemistry element involves research into the underlying cellular processes and metabolic diseases such as obesity which are growing problems in all regions of the world. Within my Masters I chose to follow the ‘Science and Society’, which is the first year of the Masters Management, Policy Analysis & Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences at the VU University. This major is meant for people who are interested in interdisciplinary research on the interface of beta science and society. The specialisation gave me a lot of insight into the management process of translating scientific knowledge to societally relevant innovations in the health and life sciences and I also learned about research outside the laboratory, using quantitative and qualitative research tools.’

Internships at the UvA and Artemis

‘Biochemistry and Metabolic Diseases requires two internships. In my first internship at the UvA, I studied a new paprika phenotype consisting of yellow and red stripes, to determine the cause of this pattern using a cytogenetic and genome sequencing approach. My second internship was part of my Science and Society major and here I worked at the Artemis One Health Research Foundation, a non-profit organisation that increases knowledge about infection diseases. In my research I assessed research priorities that could improve current strategies or lead to the development of novel strategies to control rabies disease, using a qualitative and quantitative prioritization analysis. I finished my Master’s degree with a literature study about the relationship between the gut microbiota and the development of the metabolic syndrome. Here I learned a lot about the function and composition of the gut microbiota, how the gut microbiota contributes to our physiology and its role in the development of the metabolic syndrome. The gut microbiota is really ‘hot-topic’ and it was very exciting to learn about this research area.’

Winclove and U-Protein

 ‘Currently I have two jobs. Because I like writing, I work as a scientific content writer at Winclove Probiotics where I analyse and summarise incoming papers about the microbiota. The background provided in Biomedical Sciences give me the right analytical tools to understand research and evaluate the work of other scientists. In my second job, I work as a Business Developer at U-Protein Express. We operate as a service provider of recombinant proteins and recombinant antibodies. In my role, I combine research and business skills. Things I’ve learned in my Master’s Programme, I still use every day.’