Beyond the scientist: Ellen Westhoff

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Where and when were you born?

In the small hospital of Bennekom in December 1988. Fortunately just in the middle of all Holidays.

Where do you live and with whom?

Since two years I live alone in an apartment in Nijmegen, close to the Goffertpark. It is a really nice location, especially during summer when everybody is relaxing outside and the atmosphere is great. I am still happy with my choice to move there.

Who was your role model when you were a kid?

I had many different role models when I grew up and they all had one thing in common. They all were very successful athletes and most had won at least one gold medal at the Olympic Games. My favorites back then were Pieter van den Hoogenband and Jeroen Dubbeldam. The discipline and mentality of athletes fascinates and inspires me until today.

Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?)

Unfortunately, I am not so talented as those guys. I also experienced that it takes a lot to practice sports at a high level and even though I really enjoyed daily training and weekly matches during my high school period I am not willing anymore to give up a large part of my social life and other activities. However, I hope that discipline and focus will help me in my current job.

What is the thing in your (work or other) history that you are most proud of?

Very recently we recruited 500 participants in our study UroLife on diet, lifestyle and bladder cancer prognosis. This means we are halfway, a real milestone! The fact that it is a true team effort makes me most proud. I am also proud of the yearly Retreat we organize as the RIHS PhD council.

What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?

By continuing the research we do within UroLife I hope to contribute a little to a better prognosis of bladder cancer patients. More in general, I am convinced of the influence of lifestyle on cancer and I would like to learn more about all different aspects and disseminate the knowledge I hopefully gain.

For what can we wake you up?

Ice cream!  And a good glass of wine together with my friends.

What is your hobby and how good are you at it?

Baking, just for fun. As long as other people enjoy eating what I made, I  will continue.

What is your biggest irritation?

The lack of sincere interest in other people and a lack of respect in the broadest sense.

Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance? 

That’s difficult, there are too many options.. At least somebody who is very passionate about his or her goal and is willing to sacrifice a lot to realize it.


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