A Personal Touch of Ellen van den Bogaard

Bogaard, Ellen van den 2015.jpg

Please learn more about colleagues in our "Personal Touch" series setting employees in the spotlight. A light-hearted manner to learn about the colleagues you know and those you don't!.

This week: Ellen van den Bogaard






1. Name, nationality, current function, department & theme?
I am Ellen van den Bogaard, born and raised in The Netherlands and I am currently working as a postdoc at the Laboratory for Experimental Dermatology, within the Inflammatory diseases theme. I was one of the lucky young researchers to receive a Veni grant this year and I hope to have my own research group within the RIMLS in the coming years.

2. When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up? Can you tell us something about your childhood years. 
I grew up in a little town near Nijmegen, and according to my mother as a little child I was always outside investigating everything and every living creature I could get my hands on. Already at elementary school, I knew that I wanted to work at the laboratory. More specifically, at the pathology department being involved in dissecting tissues and microscopic examination. However, during my Bachelor in Applied Sciences, I found that the routine procedures at the pathology lab were not the best choice for me and I decided to do a Master in Biomedical Sciences to turn my focus onto research.

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why did you choose that study/those studies? 
Before my Master in Biomedical Sciences at the Radboud University, I received my Bachelor in Life Sciences at the HAN University. After my Masters in Toxicology and Pathophysiology, I worked for a year at a Contract Research Organisation as a study director in toxicology. My curiosity for biological processes and fundamental research guided me back to the academia and I started my PhD project in mid 2010 at the dermatology department of the Radboudumc. Before my PhD defense I joined the lab of Gary Perdew in the USA for my current research on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in skin homeostasis and disease. It was the best choice I made during my PhD studies!

4. The RIMLS motto is ‘to understand molecular mechanisms of disease’. What does this mean for you?
For my research, in which I develop and apply in vitro skin disease models, it is vital to understand how diseases occur, what pathological pathways are involved and which molecular markers are specific for the disease. This knowledge is crucial for proper model development and the identification of new therapeutic targets.

5. Which international scientist inspires/inspired you the most? Please give a motivation why.
I do not have specific role models that I admire, but I rather look at how other leading scientists have developed their career and build their independent research group. I try to take the best of these worlds and mix it with my own perspectives on how to become a successful scientist. My main goal is to still have fun at my work and cycle to the lab every day with a smile on my face when I am 65.

6. Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud?
Our work on the molecular mechanism of the ancient dermatological coal tar therapy has opened many doors for me and for my future research in the coming years. This little side project during my PhD studies has grown to become the subject of my current Veni proposal and will hopefully lead to a new and improved therapy for patients suffering from inflammatory skin diseases. This success story of how we developed a completely new research line from one single hypothesis gives me a lot of energy and makes me proud to be a member of our experimental dermatology lab.

7. Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform?
Never thought about this, since it will never happen. Also, unlimited finances will not lead better research since a limited budget makes you more creative and think twice about designing an experiment. Appreciate the little things in life and big things will happen!

8. What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)? 
It goes from really messy with papers and schemes all over the place to really tidy when my head overflows and I need to get rid of the chaos in my head.

9. Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her? 
Joost Schalkwijk, his way of leading a research lab and mentoring young investigators should be an example for many! I would like to know if he is still pursuing certain goals for his last years in research and what they are.

10. What type of person are you, quick insights:

a) Mac or PC?:          Mac
b) Theater of cinema?: Cinema
c) Dine out or dine in?: Dine in
d) Ferrari or Fiat?:     Ferrari
e) Shopaholic or chocoholic?:        neither, I am a beeroholic :-)
f) Culture or Nature?: Culture

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