30 August 2018

My name is Marloes Michels, I’m Dutch, and I’m working as a PhD candidate at the department of Pediatric Nephrology, theme Renal disorders.

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

Actually, I never really knew what I wanted to be. But since I loved animals and wanted to cure them, I always answered "veterinarian" to this question. As a child, I was always very active, eager to learn, and had a broad interest. I wanted to know how things work, so I spend a lot of time next to my dad while he was fixing something. I guess this fits well with the work I do today. 

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

I have studied Biology at the Radboud University here in Nijmegen. In the last year of high school, I realized that biology was the school subject I liked most. I chose for Nijmegen, because the study itself and the university appealed to me, AND because it meant I didn’t have to leave my home/parents/hobbies etcetera yet ;-). Since then, I’ve stayed in Nijmegen and have always enjoyed studying here. I continued my academic training with the Master in Medical Biology, because my interests were mainly focused on how the human body works and not on how ecosystems emerge and evolve for example. 

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

For me, this means that we must understand molecular mechanisms first before we can develop new medicines. It reminds me that what we are doing each day in the lab is very important work. Nonetheless, as a fundamental researcher we should never forget to keep in mind the patients and their needs. I think we should always think in translational ways. 

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

I do not really have one famous, inspiring scientist as an example. I have always learned the most from the people around me, such as my supervisors and my colleagues. Thinking about more famous scientists, as a biologist I would think of Darwin, because evolution has always fascinated me and sometimes helps me to explain things/concepts in life or in research. As a kidney researcher, I would mention Willem Kolff, the inventor of the first artificial kidney. With this major breakthrough he has improved the life of many patients with renal diseases ever since.  

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

I hope this discovery is developing itself at the moment, since I have some very nice experiments running. If my hypothesis turns out to be correct, this would make me proud, because it answers a question that I’ve had since I started the research in this field.  It has always annoyed me that things were not clear regarding this subject. 

Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform? 

I've never been really good in answering these types of questions, so I think I should practise them more often and then we will come back on this during my thesis defence ;-). 

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

It's like an organized mess. Once in a while it bothers me too much that there is stuff everywhere, so then I want to clean up and organize everything again. Until then, I would like to believe the scientifically-proven view that a messy desk is a sign of genius ;-). Also think about Einstein’s quote: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”. 

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

I would like to nominate Susan Veissi, and I would like to ask her if she thinks she’s not going to miss the research on the complement system in the PhD project she has just started.

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 in
d) Ferrari or Fiat?                         : Fiat
e) Shopaholic or chocoholic?     : A bit of (pure chocolate) chocoholic each day, combined with a bit of shopaholic once every 2/3 months :-).
f) Culture or Nature                     : Nature

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