A Personal Touch of Jeroen de Baaij

Baaij De , Jeroen

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: Jeroen de Baaij






1. Name & Nationality
Jeroen de Baaij, Dutch

2. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
Teacher, Lawyer, Scientist, every week something else.

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study?
In 2005, I started my academic study at the science faculty here in Nijmegen, where I studied Medical Biology. During my Bachelor's track I performed a 4-months internship at the University of Cádiz, where I studied the interaction between the thyroid axis and the stress axis in fish. Subsequently, I moved to Paris where I obtained my Master's degree in Physiology and Pathophysiology at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2010. During my studies in Paris, I investigated the treatment of cystic fibrosis and the molecular mechanisms underlying atherosclerosis.

In 2010, I returned to Nijmegen for a PhD project at the Department of Physiology aiming to identify new genes in renal magnesium transport. I will defend my thesis "The Distal Convoluted Tubule: The Art of Magnesium Transport" at 21st of January 2015.

4. What is your current function and what would you like to achieve?
Currently, I am working as a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Physiology where I aim  to identify the genetic origins of electrolyte disorders such as hypomagnesemia. Patients with hypomagnesemia have muscle cramps, arrhythmias and epilepsy. How can we help these patients? I think that the only way to provide successful treatment is to understand the molecular and physiological mechanism of magnesium (re)absorption in the kidney and intestine. Therefore, I am studying the genes and proteins that are involved in renal magnesium transport. By combining genetic, cellular and animal studies, I try to identify and to characterize new genes in magnesium transport.

Additionally, I am initiating a new research line that will investigate the potential beneficial effects of magnesium in vascular calcification. This exciting new project will require me to spend some time at King's College in London over the next few years.

5. The RIMLS motto is 'to understand molecular mechanisms of disease'. What does this mean for you?
Understanding the molecular mechanisms of electrolyte disorders is the basis of my work. I enjoy the every day challenge to discover new mechanisms in the complex human body.

6. What is the biggest motivation in your work?
I want to understand how the human physiology works. Therefore, all my experiments are dedicated to increase this understanding. Moreover, the dynamics of a lab, working as a team towards a scientific goal feeds my continuous drive to develop new hypotheses and test these by experiments. I thoroughly enjoy collaborating within the lab, within the hospital but also with international collaborators and I feel that these collaborations are essential to achieve great scientific results.

7. What is your dream for the future?
Over the next decades I hope that we will be able to elucidate the mechanisms of ion transport in the kidney. Hopefully, my work can contribute to this challenging goal.

8. Fun-facts. State an interesting/obscure fact about yourself together with two that are false? Correct answer will be revealed to readers in the subsequent edition.
A: Sometimes I skip breakfast to save time and eat stroopwafels during the coffee break
B: I steal head and shoe covers from the animal facility to wear at parties
C: An insect lamp was installed in our lab because I attract flies

Correct answer will be revealed to readers in the subsequent edition.


Correct answer of Sarah Merkling: C

State an interesting/obscure fact about yourself together with two that are false
A: I once tasted the food we normally give to the flies.
B: I travelled to New York to visit the first fly lab in history at the University of Columbia.
C: I once talked with the French president in Amsterdam.


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