A Personal Touch of Siebren Dijkstra

Dijkstra, Siebren PT 2017.jpg

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: Siebren Dijkstra






1. Name, nationality, current function, department & theme?
Siebren Dijkstra, Dutch,  Urology resident and PhD candidate, Department of Urology, theme Urological Cancers.

2. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? Can you tell us something about your child years. 
I grew up in Velp, near Arnhem, together with my older and younger brother. When I was young, I was always busy playing sports and my ambition was to become a famous football player. Since that did not work out, I decided to study Civil Engineering after high school. Nonetheless, my interest in the human body was stronger and I decided to switch to Medicine. 

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why that study? 
I studied Civil Engineering for one year, but I switched to Medicine when I realised that this was more in the line of my interest. I started my study at the University of Groningen. My fifth year internships I performed at the Deventer Hospital and for my last year I moved to Nijmegen in 2010, to focus on Surgery and Urology. During this last year I also did clinical internships in Mexico and South Africa.

4. The RIMLS motto is ‘to understand molecular mechanisms of disease’. What does this mean for you? 
I think this is one of the most important steps in the process of treating the diseases we face daily as clinicians. The understanding of the mechanisms underlying the disease is essential for a successful targeted treatment.

 5. Who is your great example as scientists? And please give a motivation why.
Our history (and our RIMLS building) is full of great scientists and I do not have one scientist in particular as great example. I reckon everyone who performs science with devotion and commitment has the potential to become a great scientist.

6. Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud? 
I think that every small discovery is one to be proud of. I was fortunate to be part of a research team which discovered/validated a novel urinary molecular biomarker-based risk score to identify men at risk of harbouring high-grade prostate cancer. This finding might reduce the number of unnecessary prostate biopsies that are frequently performed.

 7. Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform?
I would use the money on a project to find a target marker and a matching targeted therapy for (metastatic) prostate cancer and to make it affordable to use in clinical practice.

 8. What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)?
Fairly organized and cleaned up, with a to-do list always present (sticky notes, digital or in my head). That's how I can work as efficient as possible, which works out best for me.

 9. Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her?
The spotlight is not unfamiliar for Isaie Reuling and that’s why I would like to nominate him. How do you manage with all those mosquitoes around you? And did you already arrange a ticket for me with backstage tour and meet-and-greet for one of your gigs? =)

 10. You are nominated by Arjan van Laarhoven. What is your answer to this question?
Siebren Dijkstra, what’s the first thing you’ll be doing after defending your PhD thesis (except from beating me in the Zevenheuvelenloop)?
The first thing to do will be giving a great party! Second will be to plan a new travel destination to visit soon after my defence. With respect to your Strava segment on the Zevenheuvelenloop, I will have to train a little bit more to get close to your time.

11. What type of person are you, quick insights:

a) Mac or PC?                                : Macbook
b) Theater or cinema?                  : Pub
c) Dine out or dine in?                  : Dine out
d) Ferrari or Fiat?                           : Isaac Meson
e) Shopaholic or chocoholic?     : Tony
f) Culture or Nature                       : A combination of both

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