Department Manager and Staff Scientist
I’m the department manager of the new Rink department, sponge aficionado, and now also planarian enthusiast. I started my academic career at Wageningen University where I did my BSc/MSc in Biotechnology, and also completed my PhD on the development of sponge cell cultures. Being fascinated by these simple but also complex animals, I decided to continue working with sponges and received a Marie-Curie post-doc fellowship to study early animal evolution. I worked in the Nichols lab (University of Denver) and the Galliot lab (University of Geneva) and investigated the function of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway in sponges. After completing my fellowship, I joined the Arendt lab (EMBL, Heidelberg) and contributed to the sponge single cell sequencing project. In 2019, I said goodbye to sponges and hello to another fascinating and challenging animal; planarians! I’m looking forward to contribute to planarian science by developing methods for cultivation of planarian stem cells and working on generating planarian specific antibodies. In addition, I help with departmental organization andtry my very best to maintain the department as a stimulating and supporting scientific environment.