First of all, you will find a short update of the NCOH activities. Secondly, Marion Koopmans tells all about the start of the One Health PACT project.
‘During my bachelor I started learning how bacteria play a role in our environment, but also in our bodies. I was amazed to learn that bacteria are present in such large numbers and with high diversity, thereby forming complex ecosystems. Nevertheless, we know little about the microbial interactions that take place and how this affects us.’
‘During 2007-2010, there was a huge Q-fever outbreak with more than four thousand cases in the Netherlands, that was originated from dairy goat and sheep farms. Further investigation of infectious disease at animal-human interface is warranted. Follow-up epidemiological studies observed an excess pneumonia risk in residents living close to farms, however the mechanisms behind remain unknown.’
The “Complex systems” call that was published end of last year resulted in 10 new NCOH projects comprising 17 PhD projects. Together with the first round of 8 PhD students of the “Metagenomics” call and additional PhD projects, over 30 PhD positions are or will be filled in the coming months!
A lot is going on within NCOH. Last month, 11 proposals were submitted as part of the NCOH PhD programme call “Complex systems”, which comprise a total of 17 PhD projects. That means that a considerable number of PhD projects will be allocated in the NCOH PhD programme, which is funded from the Partner contributions to the NCOH. Together with the first round of 8 PhD students in the “Metagenomics” call, and additional in-kind projects, over 30 PhD positions will soon be filled.
I chose to do a PhD in metagenomics due to having an interest in microbial ecology as well as a more general interest in science. The work I do is similar to what I did as a master student at the University of Oslo, so I knew what I was signing up for. I find microbiome research interesting in part due to it being a relatively new and fast developing field that still has many unanswered questions. Apart from the academic side, I am happy to be working on a project that has concrete goals towards improving animal and human health.
‘My interest in antibiotic research started during a microbiology course in the second year of my bachelor. We had to test bacteria from the sewage against different antibiotics and I was shocked by their multi-drug resistance. To me it was clear that we were in need of new antibiotics (or alternatives) and I am very excited that I am now working on a project that will hopefully contribute to the discovery of new antibiotics.’
“I have always been interested in fungal infections. After I finished my specialization as an internist/infectiologist in 2016, I wanted to continue doing research in this field. Invasive fungal infections are a growing problem. Everyone has heard about resistant bacteria, but we are also seeing an increase in resistant fungal infections. This increase is due to more patients using immunosuppressive medication or fungal infections occurring in combination with HIV infection, among other causes. For me this is an interesting problem, especially because little is known about fungal infections.
In May, 32-year-old Tim Möhlmann won the inaugural Young NCOH with his presentation on ‘Why Midges Matter’. He’s currently rounding off his PhD at Wageningen University (Laboratory of Entomology) on the same topic. It’s clearly a passion, but why exactly are midges so important to him? And why on earth does he sell ants in his spare time? It’s about time we did some exploratory research into this PhD candidate.
‘I have been curious about the human body since a young age. And especially in why some people fall ill, while others do not. During my education I learned a lot about human health and disease, but something was still missing. After my master MSc internship at the department of Microbiology & Systems Biology at TNO, I knew that I wanted to continue in the field of microbiome research. Its intriguing relationship with many different diseases and even with effectiveness in response to therapy is what makes this topic perfect for me.’