Getting my PhD after studying at HZ

"After completing school, I wanted to become a genetic engineer and was searching for a program in English with courses on biotechnology. I chose Chemistry at the HZ because I thought the courses and laboratory projects described would be fun to learn. Synthesising your own organic compound of choice? Modifying bacteria to glow green? Analysing genetic variation amongst you and your classmates? All this and the option of completing the program in three years instead of four? Sign me up!"

"The program gradually prepared the students for independent work in the laboratory. We started small, doing half-day practicals for which most of the reagents were prepared by the teachers beforehand. By the time the internships began, many students could handle projects spanning several weeks. Some of the written reports were similar to published articles! We also learned to communicate our work using slides and posters. What appealed to me was that students were often encouraged to come to the laboratory and try out their ideas."

"The two internships were a valuable experience in working with different techniques and performing cutting-edge research. First, I went to the Institute of Oncology in Oviedo, Spain, where I studied changes in DNA methylation during unexplained infertility in men. I then wrote my Bachelor’s thesis at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, looking at the genome structure of melanoma that was resistant to targeted therapy. By the time I graduated, I had a good feeling of what daily work in the laboratory looked like."

"In a way, the HZ helped me find my first job after graduation. By advice of my former professor I applied to a start up that would eventually become part of the immunotherapy company Aduro Biotech Inc. After working for a bit, I did a Master’s in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Now, I am at the start of my PhD in Systems Biology at the University of Zurich, where I will study genomes from entire microbial communities. Could I imagine that I would be here when I submitted my application for the Chemistry program? Not at all, but it was a fun ride either way."

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