“I can specialize in what I do best and what really matters to me”
This Master’s gives me a lot of freedom: I can specialize in what I do best and what really matters to me. Another good thing about this Master’s are the many great courses. I am actually struggling to stay within the 120 credits!
During this Master’s there are two major internships/researches that you get to carry out. One of them takes nine months, which seemed a really long time when I started. But at the moment I am already seven months into my research and time has flown by. I am studying hornbill breeding behaviour. Some species of these tropical birds are threatened with extinction, but zoos are struggling to breed them. It is great to dedicate nine months of my life to this cause!
''I started studying biology because I liked animals, but finding out everything that goes on in a plant turned out to be more interesting.'
I started studying biology because I liked animals, but finding out everything that goes on in a plant turned out to be more interesting. I was less interested in animals after all. And I enjoyed working with the plant people. What I liked about the Master’s programme is the fact that you’re very close to doing real science yourself. You get a very good impression of what it means to do research. And you have the chance to go abroad and see how it works there. I did my second internship in Spain.
I am now a PhD student with the Plant-Microbe Interactions research group, studying the defence mechanisms of thale cress (Arabidopsis). I investigate how this plant defends itself against insect herbivores. Defence against insect herbivores is a complex trait because the insects have evolved to cope with the defence responses that are triggered by the plant. My job is to get a better understanding of how plants and insects interact with each other.
Adriaan Verhage, alumnus