A Personal Touch of Wouter van der Heijden

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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: Wouter van der Heijden






1. Name, nationality, current function & department?
Wouter van der Heijden, Dutch, PhD candidate, Department 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?
As a very nosy child, my childhood dream was to become ‘Dikkertje Dap’ the hero of a famous Dutch children’s song. He was a friend of a giraffe. And I figured that a giraffe-friend would come in handy if I wanted to get something from the upper shelves of a cabinet (mainly cookies).

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why did you choose that study/those studies? 
I studied Medicine in Nijmegen and started my specialist training in 2014. (internist in training). After my first year of medical training I started my PhD at the department of Internal Medicine. 

4. The RIMLS motto is ‘to understand molecular mechanisms of disease’. What does this mean for you?
As I said I was very inquisitive as a child (nosy to some people, especially my parents). But I think that curiosity is the start of great science and the start of ‘understanding’ something.

5. Which international scientist inspires/inspired you the most? Please give a motivation why.
Charles Darwin, a great writer and the ultimate example of science borne from an inquisitive mindset.

6. Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud?
Still working on it ;) At the moment a quick inclusion rate for my Clinical studies..

7. Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform? 
We stored a lot of valuable specimens of our cohort study in the freezers. More money would  help us  to dissect the relationship between HIV, our immune system, the microbioma and clinical outcomes in a chronic HIV-infection. (www.humanfunctionalgenomicsproject.org).

8. What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)?
My desk is quite messy but I always keep this article in mind (Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity, Vohs et al 2013, http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/08/01/0956797613480186). This article  keeps me from cleaning up my desk.

9. Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her? 
I nominate Katrin Thiem; what is your favourite ‘awkward moment’?

10. You are nominated by Martin Jaeger. What is your answer to this question?
I want to nominate Wouter van der Heijden: Wouter, did you already take the sups of last monday?
 -> Off course I’m here, every week, Martin.. Where were you? Abroad, I presume.. ;)

11. What type of person are you, quick insights:
a) Mac or PC?:
b) Theater or cinema?:
c) Dine out or dine in?:
Dine out
d) Ferrari or Fiat?:
Not a car fanatic, so probably a Fiate) Shopaholic or chocoholic?:
f) Culture or Nature:

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