What's your name, nationality, current function, and department?
Kim Wiegertjes, Dutch, PhD student, DCMN, Neurology
What is the topic of your PhD project and what does your work look like in practice?
The subject of my PhD project is “Cerebral small vessel disease” which affects the deep perforating arteries of the brain, causing one third of all strokes world wide. As we aim to investigate the origin of this disease, we spent last year in the basement of the Donders Institute avoiding the sunlight. Every month for 10 months straight our very dedicated participants (no less than 50) visited us for an MRI scan. As of right now we are finished with the data collection and are very eager to start working with this data.
What has your career path been so far and how did you come to your current position?
When I came to Nijmegen, I started with a Bachelor in Psychology and, as many others, switched to a Master’s in Cognitive Neuroscience. From the start I knew I wanted to work with patients so I mainly focussed on clinical research and did my internship at the Neurology department in the Radboud UMC. Apparently they were not unhappy about my work there and decided that I could stay to start my PhD project and I have been working there since.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
It seems like I was already quite grown up as I think I told my eight grade teacher I wanted to be a psychologist. Ironically, I did not choose that path. However if someone would ask me right now I would say an indoor skydiving instructor, at least for a few years. That would be really awesome.
What is an important life lesson you have learned in the past?
It is not a matter of time but a matter of priority. If you really find something important you will make sure you find the time for it.
What does your perfect weekend look like?
As I am not really a morning person I mostly look forward to sleeping in. Then going out for breakfast and some good strong coffee. During the summer days I really like to drink some craft beers at the terrace of the Hemel or any other of the amazing bars here in Nijmegen and afterwards cook an elaborate dinner with or for my friends.
What is your favorite book and why?
Don’t think it is my favorite, but the last book I read was “Judas” by Astrid Holleeder (who just published another book) about her criminal brother. Always good to see that although we are goody-goody Dutch people, we do have some good old fashioned criminals walking around. Next year it is going to be pusblihed in English so this piece of Dutch history will be accesible also for non-Dutch speakers.
Do you have any handy PhD project-related tips and tricks to share?
Sometimes it is nice to talk about your grandmother about your research and realise that the “tiny” very very specific thing you are stressing out about in your research really does not matter to anyone.