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One Health PACT / Avans – Lab-student: Lynn Wachelder

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?

Hey all! My name is Lynn Wachelder and I am 21 years old. I am a third year student at Avans University of Applied Sciences, and studying the bachelor’s program Biomedical Research. In February of 2022, I will be going to Radboud University Nijmegen to do a pre-master in Medical Biology.

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

For the last few months, my project partner Elfana Riksen and I have been working on a project as part of One Health Pact. The project focusses on detecting mosquito DNA in the digestive system of a predator. The goal of this project is to determine the detection chance over various periods of time after consumption, using qPCR. We started the project in Leiden, at a living lab. A picture from this day can be seen on the right. Here, we caught the predators. We took them to the lab and fed them the mosquitos, which we got from a lab at Wageningen University & Research. We took the project to our own lab at Avans where we preformed the qPCR analysis. 

What would I like to learn?

More mosquito species will be coming to the Netherlands in the future, and they may be bringing disease with them. This may affect human health and could be a big problem. I would like to learn what I can do help find a solution for this problem. I also hope it will give me some experience in working on big projects. I would like to learn how to do my own research, to stumble onto problems and to fix these problems.

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

would like to do my part in helping the world and the people around me.

If you want to, you can find me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynn-wachelder-20ab39204/

I will now pass the baton to Elfana Riksen.

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This project 'Preparing for vector-borne virus outbreaks in a changing world: a One Health Approach' (NWA. 1160.1S.210) is (partly) financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

More about this project and the Dutch Research Council (NWO)