A Personal Touch of Arjan van Laarhoven

Laarhoven van, Arjan.jpeg

Please learn more about colleagues in our "Personal Touch" series setting employees in the spotlight. A light-hearted manner to learn about the colleagues you know and those you don't!.

This week: Arjan van Laarhoven






1. Name, nationality, current function, department and theme?
Arjan van Laarhoven, Dutch, PhD candidate, Dept. of Internal Medicine, theme Infectious diseases and global health

2. When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up? Can you tell us something about your childhood years?
First I wanted to be a fireman, later an architect. My sister, brother and I grew up in Velp, where my parents still live.

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why did you choose that study/those studies? 
I graduated from Utrecht University in 2010, with clinical internships in India and Tanzania, and my research internship in the Jenner Institute in Oxford. I planned to go study Physics, but changed to Medicine because of the foresight of interaction with human beings, which I indeed enjoy in daily practice. My parents are both physiotherapists and often told enthusiastic about the people they encountered in their work. That must have been of influence.

4. The RIMLS motto is ‘to understand molecular mechanisms of disease’. What does this mean for you?
I would really like to understand them too.

5. Which international scientist inspires/inspired you the most? Please give a motivation why.
Jörgen Erik Lehmann (1898–1989), the Swedish physician who deducted from the fact that M. tuberculosis’ metabolism is enhanced in the presence of salicylic acid, that a modified salicylic acid could be used to prevent it from growing. That is how para-amino salicylic acid (PAS) became available as one of the first drugs to treat tuberculosis. Interestingly, in our field of tuberculous meningitis salicylic acid’s derivate acetylsalicylic acid is under investigation as adjunctive therapy, making use of its immunomodulatory properties. Perhaps Lehmann comes second, after Sherlock Holmes (1854-…).

6. Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud?
Together with our colleagues from Bandung, Groningen and Boston we start to unravel what in the cerebrospinal fluid metabolism determines the outcome of patients with tuberculous meningitis.

7. Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform?
If finance were really unlimited, I’d first use it to eradicate tuberculosis, which is first and foremost, a disease of poverty. If there were to be some tuberculosis left, maybe in a laboratory, I’d study it in a model integrating bug and host cell metabolomics with transcriptomics.

8. What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)?
My desk is empty at the end of each day now, in my clinical job. That was different in research times…  although then also most of the tasks to be done were on my laptop only.

9. Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her? 
Siebren Dijkstra, what’s the first thing you’ll be doing after defending your PhD thesis (except from beating me in the Zevenheuvelenloop)?

 10. You are nominated by Intan Dewi. What is your answer to her question?
Question Intan: Apa kabar Arjan? Tetap semangat ya!
Answer Arjan: Kabar baik, teh Intan. Dan terima kasih untuk membawa sedikit Indonesia indah kesini.

11. What type of person are you, quick insights:

a) Mac or PC?:
b) Theater or cinema?:
c) Dine out or dine in?:
Dine in
d) Ferrari or Fiat?:
e) Shopaholic or chocoholic?:
Tony Chocolonely-oholic
f) Culture or Nature:
We can’t do without either of them

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