17 February 2021

My name is Carlijn Hooijmans. I was born March 16, 1981 in Leidschendam. 

I work as an Assistant professor at the department of health evidence, unit SYRCLE, and the department of Anesthesiology, pain and palliative care.  

Where do you live? 

I live in Nijmegen together with my little girl Pien who is currently 5 years old. 

What did you want to be when you grew up? Can you tell us about your childhood years? 

As a young girl I was a very happy and playful child. I loved to be outside and being around people. I always wanted to become a pilot, so that I could see and travel the world. 

What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why did you choose that study/those studies? 

I studied biomedical sciences at the Radboud University. Far away 😊 from home, as I thought that it was time to live on my own (I was after all 18!), and because I  did not want to study in the city I grew up in (surroundings of Leiden).  

I chose biomedical science because I have always been, and still am, very interested in in mechanisms of disease. Besides that, when I was 17, I did a study choices/ interest/ career test, and the test institute advised me to do something more intellectually challenging than flying an airplane. The investigators expected me to become bored in the long run, and advised me to obtain my pilot licence as a hobby (still on my to-do list) 

After my master I started my PhD at the department of Anatomy in collaboration with radiology and I investigated the effects of omega-3 fatty acids in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. Since 2008 I have been working as a researcher in the field of evidence based (preclinical) medicine at the Systematic review Centre for laboratory animal experimentation (SYRCLE). It is my mission to improve the translation of results from preclinical studies to clinical practice. 

Currently I am open to starting a new position to continue sharing my expertise in this field. 

Which of your research discoveries are you most proud of? 

Difficult question, I do not think it is really a discovery I am most proud of. I think I am most proud on my work and our team when I see that the students we teach or supervise develop a critical attitude towards the conduct of (preclinical) research. 

What is your most important scientific challenge in the coming 5 years? 

I think that our biggest challenge in the field of evidence based preclinical medicine is to convince the scientific community of the importance of meta research, but also of the fact that the translation of preclinical results to the clinical situation is a continuous effort as the methods to do this adequately are still in its infancy. 

If you could choose any mentor, who would this be? 

I do not think there is one single person. I really enjoy various perspectives on life.  

So many people crossed my path and contributed in various ways, and all these people make my life worth living. 

What is your favourite topic: molecules - patients - population? 

Patients in the form of animals 😊 

What should be changed / improved in the scientific community? 

In my opinion the most important thing that needs to be changed is the current reward system in research. 

Not rewarding a researcher based on quantity, impact factor and promising results, but rather rewarding teams and collaborations, scientific input, and, very importantly; the quality of the conducted research. 

Is there anything we can wake you up for in the middle of the night? 

My first response was nothing, but in hindsight; “a fully financed 1-year trip around the world (in such a way that I can keep my house and job when I return) together with my daughter” will do. 

What is the thing that irritates you the most? 

People who feel they are more valuable/ important than others! 

Who would you like to have dinner with, if you had the chance? 

The first people popping up in my mind are musicians: Diggy Dex and Milow 

How do you relax from the demanding job of being a scientist? 

Travel the world! I am most happy when I experience new areas and meet new people. 

But after a day of hard work: Having a drink (a nice glass of wine) with my friends, and enjoying dinner with my little girl chattering about the day, is sufficient as well 

Do you have a tip for our most junior scientists? 

Follow your passion in research, and do not pay too much attention to the competitive system. If you love what you are doing you will succeed anyway. 

Please add a photo which represents a remarkable event or experience you were part of? Please explain. 

A relatively recent visit to Dettifoss in Iceland. Literally: “The world at my feet”