'I would love to contribute to health solutions that make the lives of patients easier, and nanotechnology is just the way to do that.'
“Ever since high school, I have always been fascinated by everything that occurs on a very small scale. I’m just so intrigued by how certain changes take place on that scale. Back then I knew I wanted to study ‘something’ in that area, but I could not find a bachelor’s that matched exactly that. I ended up studying Chemical Science & Engineering at the University of Twente, which I really liked.
During my Bachelor’s, I got acquainted with the field of Nanotechnology. I did my minor at the Łódź University of Technology in Poland. Back there, I studied catalysts that could increase the energy level of biodiesel. We examined the effects of noble metals and chlorine on catalysts. Our article even got published!
Combining two Master’s
I would not say that I’m drawn to this exact research area, but I did realise that I really liked studying the nanoscale. I decided to follow up my Bachelor’s by combining two master’s: Chemical Science & Engineering (with the specialisation: Molecular & Materials Engineering) and Nanotechnology. In case you're wondering: following two master's is not particularly harder. The study load does not increase per semester, it's just that it will take me longer to graduate.
I’m really happy with my choice to combine these two master's. Within Nanotechnology, I get to extend my knowledge within other disciplines as well. For instance, I learn about electrical engineering, biomedical engineering and physics. And with my Master’s in Chemical Science & Engineering, I still get to specialise within the field that I’m drawn to the most: chemistry.
Next to the broad fundament that you acquire during the Master’s in Nanotechnology, you still have a lot of opportunities to specialise. I focus mostly on the biomedical applications of nanotechnology because I would love to contribute to health solutions that make the lives of patients easier. And with nanotechnology, there are so many ways of doing that! Think of targeted drug delivery, needle-free injections or lab-on-a-chip solutions, to name just a few.
Preventing infections with nanocoating
What I love about this Master’s is that you actually get to contribute to such solutions. My internship was about functionalising a catheter to help reduce – sometimes deadly – infections. Catheters often get covered with a layer of bacteria’s, especially when someone lies in the intensive care for a couple of weeks. I focused on designing a nanocoating that would prevent such infections from occurring.
After my Master’s, I would love to keep contributing to such health applications. Still, I’m not sure in what way. I’m currently thinking of doing a PhD. I think spending ten months on a Master’s thesis – since I’m doing two Master’s – might help me figure out whether I want to spend another four years doing research.
Eventually, I’d like to find a job at some kind of start-up within the field of nanotechnology. Or maybe, if I discover something great during my thesis or PhD, I might start up my own company! But I do have to say that I would still want to focus on research & development, rather than talking business with possible investors.”