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One Health PACT / Avans – Lab-student: Sam van der Ploeg

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 Sam van der Ploeg, and I am 19 years old. Currently, I am a third-year student studying Biomedical Research at Avans Hogeschool ATGM at Breda. And I am following the specialization patient-oriented research.

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

The project I’m working on right now focuses on the surveillance of arboviruses. With my partner (Femke Laarakker), we are looking into a fieldable way to detect an infection with an arbovirus using the Qubit. 

What would I like to learn?

My goal is to expand my knowledge about both, the techniques used in the field and the variety of viruses. I’m very interested in helping to optimize the public health by using molecular research to prevent an outbreak and/or find new techniques that help speed up the process of identifying a virus.

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

I would like to learn more about arboviruses and their impact on the world and the future. But also what the One Health PACT program could contribute to a better understanding of virus outbreaks and the prevention of outbreaks. That is why I am glad to participate in this project that focuses on infectious disease outbreaks.


I will now pass the baton to Femke Laarakker.