MSc Nanobiology exposed me to even more in-depth knowledge than the BSc. Alongside the core set of mandatory in-depth courses, with the free choice of electives there is quite some scope to specialise as the nanobiologist you want to become. And as well as the science, there’s also an emphasis upon developing soft skills such as scientific writing and presenting. All the knowledge and skills I acquired have been very useful for me in my career.
After graduating, I worked as a Technical Service Engineer at LUMICKS, a scale-up that develops novel, cutting-edge high-tech equipment with the dream of unlocking single-molecule and single-cell experiments for the world. This role required a deep, thorough understanding of the optics and electronics of complex machines as well as a fundamental grasp of the biological questions and assays customers were working on. My Nanobiology degree gave me the educational background needed not only to feel comfortable in both fields, but also be able to quickly understand, learn and utilise any new information and developments from the most fundamental basis. Moreover, since there was quite a lot of communication with customers, the soft skills acquired during this intense programme were directly transferable to the job. They made it easy for me to adapt to the customer, who might be either a biologist or a physicist, and to speak their language.
I have recently returned to academia as a PhD student at Leiden University. The research-heavy nature of the programme, in the form of the Master’s end project and work placement, has given me a nice starting boost in both the wet lab and the dry lab aspects of this work.
My story with Nanobiology began by chance, when I stumbled upon the Bionanoscience laboratories whilst visiting Delft University of Technology as a tourist from Romania. After intensive Dutch language courses (no longer required for new international students), I joined the interdisciplinary BSc programme in Nanobiology. This combined my favourite subjects – mathematics, physics and informatics – with biology, with the aim of training pioneering scientists able to conduct breakthrough research that impacts our lives and our understanding of life. While the BSc curriculum was quite rigid, with mandatory courses to impart the knowledge required to bridge the gap between the nanoscale world of biological organisms and the theoretical concepts of physics, the MSc allowed us to personalise the major part of the programme. I focused on theoretical studies of soft condensed matter physics, mathematical modelling of biological systems and state-of-the-art nano/microscopy techniques. Since clinical research fits in with my future plans, I did my final project at the Erasmus Medical Centre. There I developed an AI tool to quantify the invasiveness of lung cancer based upon digital histology images of biopsy resections. Now, after five years of ups and downs and with a Master’s degree to my name, I’m very happy about my Nanobiology trajectory and really looking forward to my PhD project. That aims to integrate multiple “-omics” strategies and AI for personalised diagnosis of lung cancer.
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