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'I had an interest in modelling and simulation of natural processes such as those in biology. That’s why I chose Computational Science at University of Amsterdam, where a lot of modeling projects are going on especially in the field of biology and biomedical applications. I joined the Virolab project here. It was a big European project, with a lot of international partners. My ambition was to be a PhD student.'

What does Computational Science offer you more then for example Computer Software Engineering?

The program is multidisciplinary. You work with computers and you have to know about computer science. But also you have to have knowledge of other sciences, like biology, economics or social sciences. I found the BSc Computer Software Engineering program a bit too technical. I wanted to use my computer skills in topics more related to real life.

What is the most demanding of being a PhD student?

The research question you want to answer and the methods you need to search for the answer. The important thing is that you find the right research question, because there are a lot of research areas. You have to read a lot about what has been done and find out what you can do.

What do you like most about your work in the Computational Science group?

You see it in real life. I’m doing research on HIV and I read a lot and get to know a lot on for example HIV infected patients. This is something that is related to people’s lives, everyday live. That’s what I like about Computational Science. It’s interesting to find out how something affects the lives of people. It’s not just technical stuff. I work with medical data, data of real patients. I use my computer skills to help the medical field. That’s what I’m happy about.

Why did you choose a PhD? And not for example work for a consulting company?

I like the environment of the university. I prefer to stay in the university rather than go into companies or research institutes. You have a lot of freedom and the research you do is not commercial. If I have a publication I can send it to an open access journal and it would be freely available to all people. It’s not the property of some institution or company. Everybody can in some way make benefit of your research.

In general it is a very interesting field of doing research. Interesting in the sense that you won’t get bored. For example in the colloquiums on Friday you hear a lot of different topics.  From the growth of corals to the spread of infectious diseases to the flow of blood in vessels, such different stuff, it raises your interests.