Beyond the scientist: Mireille Broeders

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Where and when were you born?

I was born on a houseboat in Oegstgeest in September 1970 (never went back though…). 

Where do you live and with whom?

I live in Rosmalen with my husband Theo and my children Roan and Iona. 

Who was your role model when you were a kid?

I didn’t have a role model in my youth, other than that I wanted to be very good at volleyball, so admired the players in the Dutch team. However, I enjoyed hearing my father’s stories on his involvement in the Deltawerken and admired his enthusiasm and dedication. 

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

Volleyball was not really going to be my career, unfortunately… Becoming a civil engineer also wasn’t going to be my goal in life. But I started my study Biomedical Sciences with great enthusiasm! 

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

About 5 years ago I envisioned creating a cohort of women attending for breast cancer screening where we would be able to collect information on ‘all’ established and newly identified risk factors for this disease. Such a cohort is fundamental in investigating whether moving from the current ‘one-size-fits-all’ screening policies to more individualized risk-based screening approaches can optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of breast cancer screening. With support from ZonMw, KWF, and RIHS,  the PRISMA study is now ongoing! 

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

The PRISMA study will show whether personalized screening has added value in breast cancer screening and whether it is acceptable to women and their physicians. However, I would like to extend my research to find out if this potential new screening paradigm can help optimize screening for other types of cancer or other diseases. 

For what can we wake you up?

S leep is very important! But the children know they can wake me up if it’s really urgent.

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

I love to go camping, in the Netherlands as well as Mediterranean countries. Other than that, I enjoy reading, singing and going out for dinner. Unfortunately, I had to give up volleyball because of a foot injury that never properly healed. 

What is your biggest irritation?

People who make promises, but don’t keep them and don’t tell you about not keeping them… 

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

I would have loved to invite Sir Terry Pratchett, writer of the Discworld novels, to find out if he is as funny as his books are.


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