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One Health PACT Laboratory Projects within the Avans Curriculum


In the upcoming half year, sixteen 3rd year Biology and Laboratorial Research students work 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. The first student that has been interviewed, is Wendy Lam!

One Health PACT student: Wendy Lam

Who am I? 

My name is Wendy Lam, and I am 21 years old. I am currently studying the bachelor’s program Biomedical Research at Avans Hogeschool in Breda.

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

I am working on a project for my specialization in Patient-oriented research. The project is about the Investigation of Apoptosis in Usutu virus infection in blackbirds. I am doing this research together with my project partner Melanie Neele.

What would I like to learn? 

The Usutu virus is a current topic and an emerging problem, which currently mainly affects blackbirds, but there are some cases known in which it affects humans. Research into how the mechanism works of apoptosis in the Usutu virus infection is therefore crucial for further research into the virus and the effects of it on animals and humans. That’s why I would like to gain more knowledge about this current issue.

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

At the moment, I am still looking for what I am interested in and which direction I want to go for my internship and job in the future. My interest does lay in public health, which the One Health Pact program and projects focus on. I hope to contribute to a better understanding of the Usutu virus in blackbirds. 

You can find me on LinkedIn:

I will now pass the baton to Melanie Neele and Lois Hovenier.