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Flory Olsthoorn

‘Last year, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Leiden University. During my studies I learned that I wanted to specialise in research in biophysics, microscopy, molecular and cellular biology. Now, I am fortunate enough to combine these interests in my Master’s Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences at Utrecht University.'

Multiple projects

'For my thesis, I did a semester-long internship in the lab of prof. Ariane Briegel, under supervision of dr. Alise Muok. During this time, I contributed to a number of different projects concerning microbial interactions. For example, we looked into an interaction phenomenon called “microbial hitchhiking”. This involves immotile microbes ‘piggybacking’ onto motile microbes, to get a more favourable environment.

My thesis further investigated interaction on cellular and molecular level. Specifically, we looked at particular aspects of the system that the bacteria uses for targeted movement. This system is known as chemotaxis machinery.

Applications

My thesis demonstrates that microbial interactions can translate to macro-scale effects. I hope that our research sparks interest within the scientific community and encourages further investigation. More than that, I hope that our findings can be applied in the real world. Microbial hitchhiking is an excellent example of this. Our data on this topic was directly utilised in collaboration with the seed company EnzaZaden. They are going to explore how microbial hitchhiking might improve crop growth and survival. To summarise: anywhere you look, you will probably find microbial interactions.’

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