9 October 2018

My name is Maaike van Bergen, I am Dutch and PhD candidate at the laboratory of Hematology, theme Cancer development and immune defense.

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? Can you tell us something about your child years. 

I was fascinated by biology and even had my own mini microscope to investigate things we collected outside. I always wanted to become an oncologist, because a friend of my parents was in training to become one. As a kid I gave my first presentation about cancer when I was 8 years old. Trying to explain a bone marrow transplantation to my fellow class mates. However, I don’t think anyone had a clue what I was talking about.

What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why that study? 

I studied medical biology in Nijmegen. At first, I tried to get into medical school, but I did not get in. Medical biology was my back-up plan. I am very happy I chose this path, and would not want to go back anymore.

The RIMLS motto is: ‘Today’s molecules for tomorrow’s medicine’. What does this mean for you? 

In our group we are trying to find the molecular cause for inherited bleeding disorders by identifying genes and pathways that are involved. Hopefully, these targets and pathways will be used in future therapies.

Who is your great example as scientists? And please give a motivation why.

Alfred Russel Wallace, whose evolution theory was ‘stolen’ by Charles Darwin. Unfortunately his connections and strategic skills weren’t the best, but I think was a very smart man that should get more credit for the work he has done.

Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud? 

My big research discovery has yet to be discovered :-). However, we are now making large steps by using induced pluripotent stem cells as a model system for platelet formation, and I’m proud that we have established this culture system.

Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform?

I would like to collect as many samples as possible to create a database of people that have an unexplained bleeding disorder. This way we could identify the common molecular pathways that are affected.

What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)? 

My working area is an organised chaos. Usually I know exactly where things are, but it takes some time to actually find it. Every once in a while I need to throw things out.

Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her?

I would like to nominate our colleague Francesca Tiso who is new in our lab, who her biggest inspiration is, en whether she can get used to Netherlands.

What type of person are you, quick insights:

a) Mac or PC?                                : PC
b) Theater or cinema?                 : Theater
c) Dine out or dine in?                 : Dine out
d) Ferrari or Fiat?                         : Fiat
e) Shopaholic or chocoholic?     : Chocoholic
f) Culture or Nature                     : Culture

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