10 December 2019

My name is Marieke Willemse, Dutch, Technician and RTC Microscopy operator, Dept. of Cell biology. 

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 come from a small town in Brabant from a very ‘gezellige’ family and I have two sisters.  I had a busy/ loud/ lively and happy childhood and I didn't think a lot  about the future when I was little. Now I realize it is actually kind of funny. My dad worked at a lab, my mom was a nurse in a hospital and I work on the lab in a hospital.
Although my mom, dad and me tend more to the Beta side, both of my sisters studied alfa sciences. This ensures for nice discussions at our many BBQ's / dinners / quizzes.

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

I studied Biochemistry across the street at the HAN, because Biology and Chemistry where my favourite topics in school.  After that, I moved ‘all the way’ across the street to work at the Radboud. After a few years in the Genetics department, I have been working at Cell Biology now for more than 15 years.

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

I am more at the Today’s molecules side and then especially the visualization of today's molecules. I am doing a lot of microscopy for my research group on Myotonic Dystrophy, to understand the processes in this disease.
As part of the RTC Microscopy team , I help people with microscopy questions from all over the Radboud campus. It is really nice to see people getting amazed by their own work when they see their stainings at the microscope.

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

I don't really have a 'role model'.  I try to let myself being influenced by the good qualities of all the scientist that I come across. I like the enthusiasm that most scientist have for their subject/ field. That is really motivating.  

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

I’m proud of all the contributions I have made to articles. If I have to select one, it would be the one at the beginning of my career, where I worked on a Fluorescence sensor. The goal was to create a ATP sensor, but we ended up proving that CFP was reacting to ATP itself.
However,  it also satisfies me if I can help other people with their microscopy questions. Therefore, I'm very proud on the courses that we host as the RTC Microscopy. The FIJI course is very popular  and we recently started with a Basic Microscopy course.  

Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform?

I would make microscopy free for everyone (and maybe increase the number of microscopes we have now).  It is so nice to make your research visible. A picture says more than a thousand words.  

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

My desk is not as tidy as I would like it to be, but I try to keep it clean so that I can be an example for the 'sloddervossen' in my surrounding. As a safety officer on my lab I should be a good role model.

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

I would nominate Jeroen van den Heuvel;  When is your contribution on the subject  Medicine use by kids of the tv program Klokhuis aired?

What type of person are you, quick insights:

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