What's your name, nationality, current function, and department?
My name is Kari Bosch, and I’m from the “far south” (Maastricht, the Netherlands). About three years ago I started as a PhD candidate in the Behavioural Neurogenetics group at the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience.
What is the topic of your PhD project and what does your work look like in practice?
Within my project I’m exploring the interaction between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and exposure to positive environmental contexts in the treatment of depression. I’d like to know whether exposure to positive contexts is in fact needed to reach the full antidepressant potential of SSRI treatment, and to which degree these effects are moderated by increases in GABAergic neuronal network plasticity. To do this, I analyze data collected in human subjects included in the MIND-Set study, but I also gather data by performing rodent experiments; the latter allows me to investigate the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms as well, which I think is really neat. It’s difficult to describe what an “average” work day looks like, because my days are either spent performing animal experiments at the CDL, carrying out molecular analyses in the wet labs, or crunching numbers and reading/writing behind my desk. I personally quite enjoy this versatility.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
In my toddler years, I apparently aspired to become a baker (I don’t remember any of this). When I grew a bit older, I wanted to become a visual artist; either a painter or an illustrator. After finishing high school, I actually attended an Academy of Fine Arts for two years, before realizing that I didn’t feel fulfilled by the work. I then drastically changed my subject from art to molecular life science, which ultimately led me to where I am now.
What aspect of your job do you excel at?
Hanging out near the coffee machine. Just kidding. I’d like to think I do pretty well when it comes to planning out and performing long-term, logistically demanding experiments, which sort of feels like solving a puzzle. It’s pretty fun, but sometimes I end up overthinking everything too much. I’m very good at overthinking as well, unfortunately.
What aspect of your job is or has been a challenge for you?
Managing and running your own research project can be quite stressful at times, and you really need to remember to take care of yourself. It’s important to take time off work every now and then, even when there is work to be done; there will always be work to be done. In the past, I’ve struggled a bit with acknowledging the validity of needing to tune out.
Is there a project or anything you're involved with that you'd like to promote?
In my spare time I organize events for Science Café Nijmegen. We arrange scientific lectures for the general public in a laid-back, informal setting. Our audience is very broad, but united in their interest in discussing science while enjoying a nice drink. We’re actually looking for more organizers right now, so feel free to approach me if you’d like some more info!