Who are you, what is your background and how did you get involved in MDR?
I obtained my MSc degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Groningen, with a strong emphasis on Microbiology. Following a research internship McGill University I became highly intrigued in translational research, which led me to pursue a PhD in Stem Cell Biology and Cardiovascular Diseases at the Department of Experimental Cardiology of the University Medical Center Groningen. Here I studied the involvement of fetal genes in the onset of heart failure. Following the completion of my PhD I started a postdoctoral research position at the University of Oldenburg, helping to establish a functioning research lab and cardiovascular research team. My PhD training combined with my postdoctoral research experience further compelled my fascination for translational research, and also gave me a strong interest in studying the extracellular matrix and its role in cardiac development and disease. It is this interest that led me to find a group in which I could develop this interest more, and that is how I ended up finding Prof. Dr. Carlijn Bouten and MDR.
Tell us a little bit more about the research you are planning to do with MDR?
The research I am planning on doing with MDR revolves around characterizing a subset of the extracellular matrix, proteoglycans, and their role in cardiac development and disease, and how modulation of proteoglycans may improve cardiac repair following injury.
Who is your biggest example in science and why?
This is a tricky question, but I would have to say that my biggest example in science would have to be two of my Highschool teachers, Mr. Aune and Mr. Bond, who were the first to guide me towards a career in science.
What do you do in your free time and how can we recognize the typical Atze?
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family (wife, daughter, and two cats). Besides that I enjoy traveling, so any change I get to visit friends or family around the globe I do! As for how you can recognize the typical Atze, I would say I am an easy going guy.