During my bachelor's degree in biology I had a hard time deciding what to study for my final dissertation, how could I choose just one topic when they were all so interesting?! Eventually I chose a project on parasite ecology (admittedly attracted by how gruesome it sounded…), and found my passion. I loved that I got to study the whole ecosystem and not just a single organism, and was fascinated by how parasites and pathogens, which are practically invisible and often ignored, can have such strong impacts on the ecosystem.
I’ve focussed on the ecology of different parasites and pathogens ever since, and have a particular interest in vector-borne pathogens (I hate to choose, so why not combine both the parasite and the pathogen?!). My current project uses data from the field and the lab to unravel the emergence of tick-borne encephalitis virus in the Netherlands, which to our knowledge has been infecting people in the country since 2016.
When I’m not in the field (or lab) you’ll find me getting my daily dose of nature in another way, usually by climbing, trail running, backpacking or attempting some nature photography. I also love learning languages, which is the perfect indoor activity when the Dutch weather stops me from going outside!
My project aims to take an ecological and interdisciplinary approach to understanding the emergence of tick-borne pathogens in the Netherlands, and I collaborate very closely with Dr. Helen Esser from the Wildlife Ecology & Conservation Group at Wageningen University as well as with Dr. Hein Sprong from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).