When I was a little kid, I used to collect spiders, isopods, insects and snails. In a way, my career as a biologist had already started back then. I studied biology at Leiden University, where I became fascinated by aquatic ecology and environmental biology. During my BSc., I worked on optimization of environmental DNA (eDNA) collection techniques. Later on, during- and after my MSc., my focus shifted towards studying human impacts on aquatic environments, either in the lab, in mesocosms or in the field.
Currently, I’m working on my PhD project titled ‘Citizen Science for Mosquito Surveillance’. I combine novel approaches for mosquito monitoring, such as citizen science and eDNA sampling, with conventional methods for mosquito trapping in order to map mosquito distribution. My goal is to increase our understanding on how changes in environmental characteristics affect ecology and distribution of larval- and adult mosquitoes and how this has potential implications for human health. Additionally, by involving the general public in my research, I aim to raise public scientific understanding and awareness on mosquito-borne diseases.
In my free time I like to play video games, watch movies, and to go to matches of my favourite football club. Also, I’m a big fan of hip-hop music, so you can find me at concerts quite often.
My PhD-project is embedded within the Netherlands Centre for One Health (NCOH) programme, so I collaborate closely with other members of the consortium, in particular fellow PhD candidates Sam Boerlijst, Louie Krol and their colleague Maarten Schrama, all three working at the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University. Additionally, I work with Arnold van Vliet from the department of Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Frederic Bartumeus from the Centre of Advanced Studies in Blanes (CEAB-CSIS) in Spain.