Throughout my Biology studies at Wageningen University and Research my dislike for mosquitoes gradually turned into fascination instead. Combined with my interest in disease (I caught it bad), mosquito research was the logical next step. Why do they always bite me and how can we stop disease transmission? During my studies I studied the effect of blood composition of humans and chickens on mosquito reproduction and I did field work in Kenya to optimise push-pull systems for mosquito trapping.
My main aim is to bridge the gap between entomology and human health. My PhD project called “the smell of success” is a perfect example; I want to find out which components in our blood explain our attractiveness to the malaria mosquito Anopheles coluzzii. And can mosquitoes “smell” their reproductive success? This not only involves oviposition experiments, but also human immunology experiments at Radboudumc, Nijmegen. In my spare time I like to walk the dog, entertain my cat, do photography and go running.
Fun fact: when I was a kid, I even blocked the keyhole of the door to my room to make absolutely sure that mosquitoes wouldn’t be able to enter.