Merel Hendrikx

Portrait photo Merel Hendrikx
The programme is really focused on educating students to become a good scientist, including all the soft skills.
Merel Hendrikx
Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (research)
Country of previous education
The Netherlands
Study start date
Study end date
Current role
Student Master Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (Radboud University)
Previous education
Nutrition and Health, Wageningen University

Merel Hendrikx is a masterstudent of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease at Radboud University. 

What do you like about the programme/specialisation and why? How has the programme/specialisation challenged you (in relation to your previous education)?

What I like about the programme is that it covers a broad variety of topics which are taught from both a fundamental and translational aspect. Moreover, the programme is really focused on educating students to become a good scientist, including all the soft skills. My background was very different so this programme challenged me to catch up my knowledge gaps in molecular biology. Overall, I learned incredibly many things and I am very grateful for that.

What do you think about the atmosphere in class (for example the relationship between students and with the teachers/researchers)? 

The atmosphere is great. You follow the programme together with a small group of fellow students of different nationalities. This way you also learn a lot about other cultures. Since there are many contact hours on campus you spend a lot of time together, thereby making many new friends. Every day feels like studying with your family and you share both joy and grief together. Also, since everyone has a different scientific background, you'll get many different perspectives on subjects. In addition to that, the teachers are very nice and approachable. It is easy to just have a chat with them or contact them for questions.

What do you find most challenging in your Master’s (specialisation)? Have you encountered any obstacles?

The high workload with the great amount of study material and content makes it hard sometimes to keep up, but it helped me to prioritize things. You don't really get a break and you have many exams in a short period of time. Overall, the programme is very demanding but at the same time, they give you many great unique opportunities.

Are you currently doing an internship? Or what is your thesis about?

I did my first internship about targeted radionuclide therapy and its immunological effects at the department of nuclear medicine. I really liked this, also because it gave me the opportunity to work at research group in the hospital. This got me in close contact with the clinic. My current internship is at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden where I will develop a mRNA vaccine for the hepatitis B/D virus.

Why do you think is it important that there are people out there with this degree? What are your plans once have received your Master's degree?

Even though you end up in either fundamental or translational research, it is important I think to have a background of both sides in order to understand the whole process. I feel that MMD prepared me to become a researcher in the best possible way. After my Master's degree I hope to continue doing a PhD in the field of precision medicine and immunology.