Please learn more about colleagues in our "Personal Touch" series setting employees in the spotlight. A light-hearted manner to learn about the colleagues you know and those you don't!.
This week: Jenny van der Wijst
1. Name & Nationality
Jenny van der Wijst, theme Renal Disorders.
2. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study?
I studied Biology at the Radboud University Nijmegen, and obtained my PhD degree in Medical Science in 2011 at the Radboud University Nijmegen. My PhD research was done at the department of Physiology, where I studied the regulation and molecular mechanisms of transepithelial magnesium transport using electrophysiological analyses. Next, I continued my project as an EMBO funded postdoctoral researcher at the lab of Dario Alessi in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit, Dundee, Scotland. Here, I focused on the Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin channel 6 (TRPM6), which is unique in the mammalian proteome through its key role in Mg2+ handling in the kidney and by the combined action as an ion channel and an alpha-kinase.
4. What is your current function and what would you like to achieve?
I now work as a postdoc at the department of Physiology on my Veni project in which I aim to further investigate the role of the TRPM6 kinase in the regulation of ion channel function. In addition, research over the last few years has led to identification of several new proteins that play a role in epithelial magnesium transport. I find it highly interesting to study the network of protein interactions and signaling that is involved in maintaining the magnesium balance in our body. Disturbances in the magnesium balance are associated with several age-related diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart and vascular diseases. It will be a future goal to study the role of magnesium in these disorders and understand the interrelationship with other electrolyte balances.
5. The RIMLS motto is 'to understand molecular mechanisms of disease'. Whatdoes this mean for you?
This is the key point of my research as it means to unravel mechanisms and signaling pathways that are involved in the regulation of renal magnesium handling in order to understand the development of diseases and pathologies related to disturbances in our magnesium balance, which will ultimately contribute to development of future therapies.
6. What is the biggest motivation in your work?
Curiosity, which is more or less the excited feeling when an experiment works and the point you realise that pieces of the puzzle start to fit together.
7. What is your dream for the future?
I hope to make many more exciting new discoveries in the ion channel field, and I feel that all obtained experiences provide me with a good foundation to set up an independent research group in the near future.
8. Fun-facts. State an interesting/obscure fact about yourself together with twothat are false? Correct answer will be revealed to readers in the subsequent edition.
A: I have a 'casual Friday' pillow on my seat
B: I perform experiments in a dark room with the door locked
C: I always have lunch outside, independent of the weather
Correct answer will be revealed to readers in the subsequent edition.
Correct answer of Stein Schalkwijk : B
A: I did two full triathlons, but finished in the shadows of the broom wagon.
B: I hiked the Peruvian Andes and had to camp in the snow unprepared, because of unexpected bad weather.
C: I prefer travelling by train over travelling by bus.
State an interesting/obscure fact about yourself together with two that are false.
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