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Student Biomedical Sciences: Biochemistry and Metabolic Diseases
Rebecca McIntyre
Photo: Rebecca McIntyre

Puzzling with Biology

‘I completed a Bachelor’s in Biology at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington with a track focus on Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology. Even since learning basic Biology in high school, I have been interested by the interactions of molecules and how various proteins work together to coordinate cellular processes. For my Bachelor’s research project, I studied the development of liver pathologies via the mTOR pathway. I liked the puzzle of organizing regulatory networks and appreciated the fact that even adding a small piece of knowledge helps increase understanding for the whole field.’

Loving the Netherlands

‘Throughout my Bachelor’s programme and the years following I debated between pursuing research or medicine as a career. To give myself time to decide, I took several years away from the science world. In the year after my Bachelor’s programme I worked coordinating volunteers at a camp for children with serious medical conditions. After that, I wanted to take a bit of a leap and move abroad. I found the opportunity to be an au pair in the Netherlands and two months later I had moved to Almere to work for a family there. I spent a year caring for a 10-year-old girl and fell in love with the Netherlands during that time. When I moved back to the States I realised both that I wanted to continue my research career and that I wanted to do it in the Netherlands. Therefore I applied to University of Amsterdam for its flexible program and variety of research opportunities.’

Flexible programme

‘I really enjoy the flexibility of the Biomedical Sciences Master’s. Not only do we have the chance to specialize in a track, but can organise much of the two years how we like. The two separate research project allows us to learn more techniques and gain a wider variety of experience.  I learned how to better organize scientific research and concepts into a cohesive idea and story. It is so easy to learn the basic concepts of biology as pieces but forget that every piece of living systems connects. Biomedical Sciences requires two internships. I am currently working in my first project studying the impacts of nitrogen availability on cytosolic pH in yeast. I really enjoy the chance to join a research group and contribute to their work while learning new techniques and more about the research process.’

Sports and Amsterdam

‘My free time is mostly spent participating in CrossFit or rock climbing. For me, sports are a great opportunity to relieve stress and push my physical capabilities. I also love to travel, read, meet with friends, or relax at home with good food and Netflix. Besides that, Amsterdam is a fantastic city. I love the fact that it is such an intersection of culture. I have made friends from all over the world both at the UvA and in my life outside of study. I feel I’ve learned so much by engaging with their perspectives. I would love to pursue a PhD after my masters and continue working in the research field. If I can stay in the Netherlands to do so, even better!’