MESA+ University of Twente
Research Business & Innovation About MESA+ Education

Volume 4, 2015

“It all started with a newspaper piece”

Who? Niels Willemen (1996).

Hobbies? Football (A1 at Quick ‘20), video games and hooking up with friends.

Education? Completed university preparatory education, currently in his first year of Advanced Technology, a broad technical BSc programme at the University of Twente.

Desired job? “Hard to say this soon. First I want to get my bachelor’s degree, then the master’s in nanotechnology. And perhaps go for a PhD.”

Nano? “For my subject combination project, I conducted research at the MESA+ NanoLab. It all started with a newspaper piece my father showed to me. It went into the various applications of nanotechnology, like tiny robots capable of injecting medicine in diseased cells. I turned to Google and found there was a NanoLab in Enschede - my very own home town. So I contacted Dave Blank. He showed me all the possible subjects. I went for the use of nanoparticles in combating cancer cells.”

Mark? “A ten out of ten. The only such grade awarded in my school. During the autumn school holidays, I spent a week at the NanoLab doing research. My research was about how specific nanoparticles are able to kill cancer cells. I want to continue researching this topic after completing my studies, so I don’t want to tell you too much about it now.”

Tip? “Pick a programme that suits you and talk your choice over with the people close to you. For years, I wanted to follow in my parents’ footsteps. The both of them are medical specialists. But they found that I am more of a scientist.”

Nano knowledge
Celine Baard and Niels Willemen were both given a tour of the NanoLab. Each year, over 1,800 high school students and other interested parties visit the MESA+ NanoLab. Would you like to know more? Visit The MESA+ researchers also provide lectures on nanotechnology. A two-minute sample, by scientific director Dave Blank, is available on