Beyond the scientist: Elke de Jong

Elke de Jong.jpg

Where and when were you born?

I was born in Gilze-Rijen  on march 16th 1963. My mother was a teacher and my father worked his whole life for Philips Eindhoven as a technical engineer. I am the oldest of 3 children, I have a brother and a sister.

Where do you live and with whom?

I live in Nijmegen, with my husband, three children aged 19, 18 and 15 years, and 3 cats. My husband is a general practitioner. Our son moved to Utrecht last year, and is studying computer science. Our two daughters are still at school in Nijmegen (fortunately, I really enjoy a house full of family,  friends and noise).

Who was your role model when you were a kid?

That is a difficult question. I don’t think a really had a role model. The closest to a role model was Roald Dahl, as a child I tried to copy his way of writing short stories, that always were characterized by humor and unexpected plots.

Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?)

Well, writing and reading is still an important part of my work. Also as a researcher I think it is important to find original solutions for problems,  and not always do the expected things.

What is the thing in your (work or other) history that you are most proud of?

That I established a research line together with my very important PhD candidates, colleagues and patients about what the newest generation of treatments for patients with severe psoriasis really can achieve.

I believe that real life data –although analysis is challenging-  are very important because they reflect what is really happening with the patient.

What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?

To be able to treat patients better than we can do now. The burden of a chronic inflammatory disease is much underestimated. Peoples lives are seriously impaired by their disease and patients are undertreated or treated too late. Achieving permanent remission of the disease has not been able until now. I want to achieve that the right treatment is given to the right patient at the right time. For this purpose we are going to combine predictors for treatment success, pharmacogenomics and proteomics. Which is very challenging..

For what can we wake you up?

A concert of Coldplay. After years of trying we managed to get tickets for their recent concert in Amsterdam. 

What is your hobby and how good are you at it?

My hobby is running, but I am not aiming at world records. I love sports, I try to fit it into my life which is always a challenge.

Another hobby is playing the piano. When I was a student of medicine, I played in restaurants and earned money that way. This was a really nice part-time job for a poor student

What is your biggest irritation?

My email inbox that is always overloaded

Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance? 

I would like to invite Hillary Clinton. I am impressed by her, for what she has achieved in her life. She seems an intelligent person with consideration for less fortunate people and has a lot of experience as former minister of foreign affairs. Or maybe she is tough, I don’t know. I would like to find out how she looks at life. I see now  that Angela Maas also wants to have dinner with her, maybe we should have a dinner with the 3 of us together.. 

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