Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Jasper van der Heijdt

Date of news: 4 June 2020

JasperWhat’s your name, nationality, current function, and department?

My name is Jasper van der Heijdt, and I’m a Dutch PhD candidate. I am in my third year, and work in the Biophysics department (DCN).

What is the topic of your PhD project and what does your work look like in practice?

My topic is on ‘Bimodal Hearing’, i.e. people who have a cochlear implant in one ear, and a hearing aid in the other ear. I really like doing my measurements and the contact with study participants, but my work is quite varied beyond that (programming, lab maintenance, writing).

What did you want to be when you were younger?

When I was younger I wanted to be a professional pianist like my father. I was around 16 years old when I decided to go for a different route. And somehow came back to something hearing-related years later.

What has your career path been so far and how did you come to your current position?

I studied Technical Medicine at the University of Twente (Enschede) before coming here. During my study I had short internships all through the Netherlands, and I first got to know some people from the Donders Institute when I did a Master’s internship at the Radboudumc. I quite liked the people and the city from there, so I was glad to apply for a PhD when an interesting position came up!

What aspect of your job do you excel at?

While I am still learning, I have really improved my organizational skills since starting my PhD.

What aspect of your job is or has been a challenge for you?

I have had several long setbacks due to broken equipment or ephemeral bugs in the lab setup. This has cost me much more time than I’d anticipated when I started this project, and I have sometimes struggled to cope with this pragmatically.

What does your perfect weekend look like?

In lockdown times? The weather is good so I like to go on long hikes/bike rides in the Nijmegen area. There are a lot of nice nature areas to discover here.

What is your favorite book and why?

John Dies at the End by David Wong, for the sheer weirdness of the plot. I won’t give any (further) spoilers.

What are you looking forward to in life?

I am not yet certain what I want to do after my PhD, but I am looking forward to settling down some place. I have had to move 7 times in the last 5 years, and that makes building up something quite difficult.