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One Health PACT / Avans – Lab-student: My name is Raf van de Vijver

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 Raf van de Vijver, 21 years old and currently specialising in Patient-Oriented research within my bachelor Biomedical Research at the Avans Hogeschool in Breda.

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

Currently, I am working on a project where we collaborate with the Veterinarian faculty of the University of Utrecht on the role of Apoptosis within the infection of the Usutu Virus. My project partner Thibeesan Pooventhiranathan and I are focussing on the histological side. This involves staining tissue coupes with certain assays to indicate apoptotic tissue. To understand the mechanisms within the infection are crucial for further research and containing this virus. 

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

I am still learning a lot about the working field of Biomedical-Research. Public health has always been my main focus as a future working field, so the project of the One health pact perfectly suits my aspirations. I hope that at the end of the project, I contributed a part in the progress of understanding the Usutu Virus. In February 2022, I doing an internship at the University Hospital of Oslo within the Cancer research department which I am very excited about. This will be a great opportunity to gain practical and theoretical knowledge about a important field of work within Biomedical-Research.

You can find me on Linkedin via the link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raf-van-de-vijver-b73307208/

I will now pass the baton to Thibeesan Pooventhiranathan.

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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)