A Personal Touch of Michelle Damen

Daamen, Michelle.jpg

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: Michelle Damen






1. Name, nationality, current function & department?
Michelle Damen, Dutch, PhD-student at the 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. 
When I was little, I changed my mind a hundred times about what I wanted to become. One day I would say a hairdresser and the next it would be a veterinarian. As a kid I was mostly playing outside, climbing trees, running or riding around and spending a lot of time on a swing at the playground. I was really keen on sports and even though I only played soccer, I participated in many school-organized sports competitions like basketball, handball, indoor soccer etc.

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why did you choose that study/those studies? 
I started with my academic training in 2008 when I applied for the bachelor Biomedical Sciences at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. I knew very early during high school that I wanted to continue studying something related to biology and the human being. I was born and raised in Eindhoven and since I’m not a technical person, it was clear I had to look for studies somewhere else. At first I was in doubt whether I wanted to study medical biology or biomedical sciences but learning things about the life-cycle of plants didn’t seem interesting and I preferred the combined classes with medical students. After my bachelor, I continued with a Master in pathobiology because I always wanted to know exactly how things worked.

4. The RIMLS motto is ‘to understand molecular mechanisms of disease’. What does this mean for you?
It is actually the reason why I do research. How does it work and why do certain people become sick where others do not and what is causing this difference.

5. Which international scientist inspires/inspired you the most? Please give a motivation why.
I think there are two actually (and not only because they are my promoters/head of the lab) namely Mihai Netea and Leo Joosten. I just find it very impressive what they have established/discovered and even more how they are capable of always guiding you in the right direction generating so many impressive results. Always walking out with a 100 new ideas regarding your research after a meeting and the enthusiasm they are able to transfer to you is remarkable. Moreover, their way of maintaining a great atmosphere in the lab is also important.    

6. Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud? 
I think it was the discovery in a cytokine shift in a group of patients with a specific SNP

7. Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform? 
I think I would like to perform multiple experiments or start a patient trial or generate some tools regarding my protein of interest. Create a series of knock-out cell lines. Work with a transgenic mouse model also some transgenic mice with knock-out of other genes.

8. What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)?
Most of the time there are a lot of papers and protocols laying around the desk and not some much free space visible anymore. However, as I would like to call it “organized chaos”. Every once in an while I then get the urge to clean and organize and then it looks really neat and structured. However this only lasts a certain period of time until the cycle repeats itself.

9. Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her? 
Maartje Cleophas : What do you like to do most in your personal time?

10. 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:
f) Culture or Nature:

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