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One Health PACT / Avans – Lab-student: Amy Overheijden

Sixteen 3rd year Biology and Laboratorial Research students are working on OHPACT-related projects within Avans under the supervision of teachers with OHPACT as their client. Within this part of the curriculum of the bachelor education, project based learning is essential. Together with University Utrecht (Judith van den Brand, Giuseppe Giglia, Gianfilippo Agliani) students are unravelling the role of apoptosis in Usutu virus positive blackbirds. In addition, within the collaboration with Erasmus MC (Bas Oudemunnink, Emmanuelle Munger, Reina Sikkema), students are contributing to the development of a fieldable assay for the detection of vector-borne viruses from wildlife and clinical samples and optimizing the CO1 PCR for ticks species identification. In association with the LUMC (Louie Krol), students are investigating if the Culex pipiens-complex DNA can be detected in the guts of known mosquito predators using qPCR.

Who are these students? In the upcoming weeks we will share with you who are these students and on which topics they will focus.

Who am I?

My name is Amy Overheijden, and I am 19 years old. I am a third year student studying Biomedical Laboratory Research at Avans Hogeschool, I am following the specialization patient-oriented research.

What subject will I be focussing on this semester? What will I be researching?

I am currently working on a project for my specialization in Patient-oriented research. The goal of the project is to optimize the CO1 PCR and use this to identify tick species that are sampled from birds. I am doing this research together with my project partner Dani Kors.

What would I like to learn?

Thus far it is still unknown what kind if tick species are present on different kind of bird species. It is important to know this since ticks can play a role in transmitting Vector-Borne Diseases such as arboviruses. With this project I hope to learn more about the presence of tick species..

What do I want to do with this in the future?

I hope that the knowledge that will be gained can be used for One Health Pact and students that will work on OH-PACT projects in the future. At the moment, I am still looking for what I am interested in and which direction I want to go in. My interest does lay in public health, which the One Health Pact program and projects focus on, but I think for the future I want to shift my focus more to pathogens.

You can find me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-overheijden-90474522b/

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One Health PACT with project number 109986 is (partly) financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).