During my Bachelor Biomedical Engineering I discovered an interest for the growth and regeneration of tissues

Marthe Vaessen, student

Student Regenerative Medicine and Technology with the specialization Soft Tissue Biomechanics & Engineering.

Marthe Vaessen

MasterRegenerative Medicine and Technology (RMT) 
SpecializationSoft Tissue Biomechanics & Engineering 
Previous educationBachelor Biomedical Engineering at TU/e
Started with the Master in February 2015

Why did you choose this Master?

During my Bachelor Biomedical Engineering I discovered an interest for the growth and regeneration of tissues. The pathways in cells which get activated during growth and the fact that almost all kind of tissues could be regenerated, intrigues me a lot. My Bachelor’s End Project (BEP) focused on using tissue-engineered heart valve material, which I cultured myself. While working on this project I realized that this made me happy and that I would not mind doing research and work in the lab on more projects like this. Soon I decided to do the RMT Master. The collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine of Utrecht University appealed to me, since I already had followed Utrecht’s courses during my Bachelor which I liked a lot. All those subjects were more medical and biological than most courses here in Eindhoven and for me that was exactly what tickled my fancy. I did not want to pick a Master’s program completely focused on medical aspects, because I also like the technological side of research.

Which courses and projects did you choose?

I am looking forward to one course in particular, namely Cardiovascular Immunology in Utrecht. The heart has always intrigued me and I have followed immunology courses in the past so this seems like an interesting combination to me. I also really liked the practical course Cell Biological Techniques and Engineering Detection, which teaches you a lot of useful techniques in cell biology. I have not done my internship yet and I am planning to do this after my graduation project.

What do you like about Regenerative Medicine and Technology?

I like the fact that there is a broad selection of subjects and courses that I can follow. Also the fact that I am free to choose what I find interesting is something that appealed to me from the start. One of the courses that stuck to me most was the Stem Cell course, because stem cells are so diverse and can be applied in numerous different fields to achieve wonderful results.

What will be your graduation project?

Soon I will start with my graduation project in the group Soft Tissue Biomechanics & Engineering of prof. dr. Carlijn Bouten. During my graduation project I will, for now, try to create a 3D micro-environment based on a hydrogel on which breast cancer cells can grow. Through this I can look at signaling pathways that have an influence on angiogenesis and metastasis and hopefully have a better understanding of the factors that activate those signaling pathways. When Cecilia Sahlgren told me about this project, I immediately knew that this was what I wanted to do and because of personal reasons I was extra motivated for this subject.

Would you like to continue your research career with a PhD or PDEng?

I would like to do a PhD or PDEng, but only if it is in a field that I find interesting and a subject that I would love to work on for a longer period of time.

Where would you like to work in the future?

I do not really know where I would like to work. As long as I am able to do my thing, I am open for a lot of different opportunities.

What did you do next to your study?

In my first year of my Bachelor I joined the Parent day Committee of the study association Protagoras. The Parent Day is a day where student can show their parents what a day of studying at the TU/e looks like. Additionally, I have been a student assistant for quite some time now. I have been a tutor for first year students in their DCL cases and I also supervise students in the lab for their second year DCL lab work. I really enjoy helping to educate the students and I would like to do more things regarding education in the future.

Next to my study I have had several jobs to support myself. I have tutored high school kids, worked in a pancake house in Norway, worked in shops and in a bar, and currently I am a barista. You can never have enough coffee!

As for my hobbies, I started playing roller derby not to long ago. This is a full body contact sport for women on roller-skates. If I have spare time (which is more an exception than a rule) I like to make music and go to concerts. I play the bass guitar and have had singing lessons. I also enjoy drawing, in particular pin-ups. Additionally I also enjoy learning new languages.

April 2016