A Personal Touch of Klaas Mulder

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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: Klaas Mulder 






1. Name, nationality, current function, department & theme?
Klaas Mulder, Dutch, Tenure-Track Group Leader, Molecular Developmental Biology (FNWI), theme: Cancer development and immune defence

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. 
I grew up in a small town in Noord-Holland with my parents and sister. When I was young I played a lot of field-hockey and I remember being very disappointed that (at that time) that it was not possible to make it ones profession. Of course this was equivalent to becoming a professional football player, which is (for most) just a childhood fantasy. In the 5th year of high-school we got taught how DNA is replicated. That was the moment I realised I wanted to be a biologist.

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why did you choose that study/those studies?
I went to the univerisity of Groningen to study biology, did my PhD in Utrecht. During both my Masters degree and my PhD I spent 6 months abroad (Boston and Geneva). For my post-doc I went to the lab of Fiona Watt at the univerisity of Cambridge in the UK. From there I took up my current position in Nijmegen in August 2012.

4. The RIMLS motto is ‘to understand molecular mechanisms of disease’. What does this mean for you?
I believe that in order to understand disease, we must also understand the normal situation. That way, it will be possible to tackle the disease state without tripping up the healthy tissue. As every drug used in the clinic acts through a specific MMOA (Molecular Mechanism of Action) it is most important that our  understanding of health and disease should spans molecular mechanisms as well as cellular biology. 

5. Which international scientist inspires/inspired you the most? Please give a motivation why.
I do not have a defined single rolemodel. I have always closely observed my supervisors and mentors to see which parts of what they do I value and which parts I do not to wish to adopt. Therefore, I aim for my style of research and leading my groups is a combination of positive virtues that I enjoy in others. Furthermore, I enjoy reading (auto-)biographies of famous scientists in my free time, which inspires me.

6. Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud?
My lab will do whatever is needed to answer the research question we posed, even if this requires inventing new technologies. It is this dedication of the people I work with that fills me with immense pride. 

7. Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform?
Given the current funding climate and the direction the Dutch government is taking towards the future funding structure, I would suggest investigating the most effective way to distribute research funding (http://www.wetenschapsagenda.nl). I believe it is high time to quantify the economic contribution of basic research, yet how to achieve this is not directly obviouse and simple.

8. What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)? 
That depends. When I am in a flow, my desk can become covered in paperwork quite quickly. On the other hand, when I am stressed I will start cleaning this up in an attempt to regain control.

9. Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her? 
Lionne Ekers (or one of the other champions at the RIMLS secretariat).
Question: What do you feel is the most important contribution you make to the RIMLS?

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

a) Mac or PC?:   Mac
b) Theater of cinema?: Cinema
c) Dine out or dine in?: Dine in
d) Ferrari or Fiat?: Ferrari
e) Shopaholic or chocoholic?: Chocoholic
f) Culture or Nature?: Culture


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