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One Health PACT / Avans – Lab-student: Rik Hartog

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 Rik Hartog, and I am 20 years old. I am currently studying in the third year of the bachelor’s study Biomedical Laboratory Research at Avans Hogeschool in Breda, the Netherlands. I am currently working on a specialization project, focussing on patient-oriented research.

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

The project I am focussing on this semester, is about determining Culex pipiens and other different mosquito species in eDNA from the Nieuwkoopse plassen, using qPCR, end-point PCR and Oxford nanopore sequencing technique. I am working on this project together with Danique Lichtenberg, in association with the Leiden University Medical Center and Louie Krol.

What would I like to learn?

Because of the climate change, traveling and a dense population of human and water ecosystems in the Netherlands, mosquito-born diseases like West-Nile virus and Usutu virus are becoming a major risk to human health. I want to learn more about the effects of virus outbreaks on human health. And the role of mosquitos in transferring the viruses.

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

In the next semesters I am going on an internship, focussing on the diagnostic of bacteriology. I do not know yet, what direction graduation internship I want to follow. In the future I want to do research on bacteria and funghi and learn more about the world of microbiology.

You can find me on LinkedIn: Rik Hartog – LinkedIn

I will now pass the baton to Dani Kors.

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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)