Alumni of the Eureka course talk about their views on Translational Medicine

Maja Bulatović Ćalasan

Internal Medicine Resident

“My role model is embodied in several different people, both clinician-scientists and clinicians, whom I encountered during my career so far. They are my role models because of their integrity, perseverance, passion for their work, belief in what they do, and belief in the people they do their work with.”

Sanne Nijhof

Pediatrician and Postdoctoral Researcher 

“In my research, I collaborate with fundamental researchers, clinical researchers,  and with other disciplines – for example with people who build bridges between research, clinical practice and society.” 

Joost Swart

Pediatric Rheumatologist and Immunologist 

“Wietse Kuis is my role model, because he has a brilliant mind, is honest, is engaged with what he does, feels for his patients, and wants to dive into details in the lab to understand everything he sees in his patients.”

Michiel Schreuder

Pediatric Nephrologist, Radboud University Medical Center, Amalia Children’s Hospital, Nijmegen

“I am very proud to be building the infrastructure, setting up the network, and obtaining the funding to study several diseases that have frustrated me in the clinic. I hope to provide better answers and therefore better treatments and guidance in the near future.”

Belinda van 't Land

Affiliated Senior Scientist

“I am most proud of having initiated and continued to build the Scientific Alliance between the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital and Nutricia Research, with a focus on immune development and nutrition.” 

Sylvia Brugman

Assistant Professor, Cell Biology and Immunology Group, Wageningen University

“Translational Medicine requires teams consisting of clinicians and fundamental researchers, and aims to translate findings with the help of all team members to ensure that patients can benefit.” 

Hester den Ruijter

Associate Professor, Experimental Cardiology

“I hope the future of Translational Medicine will be bright and based on teamwork. In my view, the only way to succeed is to bring together people who have the creativity and freedom to think outside the box.”\ 

Louis Bont

Pediatrician and Researcher 

“The solution to major medical problems can often only be solved by a Translational Medicine approach.”

Sabine Middendorp

Associate Professor, Pediatric Gastroenterology 

“I am most proud of having created an organoid-based screening platform that uses patient-specific organoids as models of disease.”

Sabine Fuchs

Pediatrician in Metabolic Diseases with dedicated research time

“We live in a very exciting time with spectacular technological possibilities, including next generation sequencing, gene editing, stem cell (organoid) in vitro modelling, transcriptomics, metabolomics, large compound screens... Information technology enables world wide access to international expertise and patient sharing. If embedded in a collaborative, patient-oriented, creative, inspiring and critical environment, we should be able to raise translational medicine to great heights!

Femke van Wijk

Associate Professor 

“I am most proud of having contributed to the training and mentoring of young professionals and scientists, each with their own career paths. They are going to make the difference.”

Sanne Hoeks

Pediatrician and Neonatologist

“At the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, continuous improvement in care for these small and very vulnerable human beings is mandatory to improve long-term outcome and quality of life. Historically, this population has been underrepresented in basic science and therapeutic research. I feel a responsibility to make research on neonates possible in the best clinical way.”

Christiaan Vinkers


“Translating the needs and languages of one discipline to another is truly challenging, but it is pivotal in order to share knowledge and to come to novel solutions.”

Pieter van Dijkhuizen

PhD student, Pediatric Rheumatology

“In my research, I try to keep in mind how patients can benefit from the results. I find this hard to accomplish, due to the fact that most research findings represent small steps ahead and need further research and optimizations before they can be really applied in daily clinical practice.”

Roel Deckers

Assistant professor, Imaging Division

“I would call someone a translational scientist when the main objective of their research is to cross the ‘Valley of Death’ between promising pre-clinical results and making the drug or device part of daily clinical practice.”

Petra Baarendse

Senior Expert / Architect

“I am proud of the improved health care in the UMC Utrecht due to better collaboration in professional care teams and more focus on the patient perspective.”

Marne Hagemeijer

Postdoctoral Researcher

“I foresee that precision medicine will become more important with regards to diagnosis and treatment of diseases, with Translational Medicine being at the forefront of these developments.”

Caroline Lindemans

Pediatric Immunologist and Bone Marrow Transplantation Specialist 

“In the future, Translational Medicine will become more and more important – but in our efforts to connect with the clinic we will have to be careful not to lose touch with basic scientists.”

Gijs van Haaften

Associate Professor, Group Leader

“My role model is Leonard Cohen: There is a crack in everything, that is where the light gets in.”

Joris van Montfrans


“I am most proud of having brought together different people into a multidisciplinary group. All had something to bring to the table, and the outcome will be bigger than all the individual input.”

Marije Bartels

Pediatric Hematologist 

“I would call myself a clinician-scientist because I am translating clinical findings into new research projects, and translating lab findings into potential clinical applications. I do this within my own field of interest as well as in the projects of my colleagues or researchers that I meet.”

Aisha Gohar

PhD Student

“My research and hypotheses are always driven by patients’ needs, and aim to increase awareness of problems within certain areas of health care. They don’t always directly or immediately impact patient care, but in my opinion that is okay if the research still supports patients’ needs or draws attention to healthcare areas in need of change and innovation. In the long term, we will see the impact of this research.”

Antoni Hendrickx

Senior scientist, Hubrecht Organoid Technology

“My role model is Hans Clevers. He is a pioneering scientist with a great worldwide scientific and societal impact due to his ground-breaking discoveries. Organoid technology will revolutionize personalized and Translational Medicine.”

Kirsten Renkema

Assistant Professor, Genetics 

“I call myself a translational scientist because I directly implement the findings from our nephrogenetics research line to diagnostics, thereby translating research results to medical care.”

Saskia van Mil

Associate Professor and Group Leader at Center for Molecular Medicine 

“My drive in doing translational science is to understand the molecular mechanisms of disease pathogenesis in the liver and gastrointestinal tract. Together with partners, such as clinicians, pharmaceutical companies, and patient representatives, I aim to translate this knowledge into therapy or diagnostic tools for the benefit of human health.”

Henk Schipper

Pediatric Cardiology Fellow

“I feel that frequent inspiration by clinical problems or patients is the most important aspect of Translational Medicine. After all, both fundamental and clinical scientists can perform Translational Medicine, but their orientation matters: are they inspired by patients and their problems, or do they merely wish to solve their own experimental problems?”

Frank Nijsen

Associate Professor

“What I am proud of is that, together with my research group, we came up with the “idea” of radioactive holmium microspheres as a possible treatment of liver tumors into a real product for treatment of liver tumors, available for all patients in Europe.”

Imo Hoefer

Associate Professor, Head of Central Biobank

“Translational Medicine is part of my every day work. I work together with clinicians and basic scientists, and have numerous collaborations with private partners, all aiming to improve diagnosis and care by making use of translational research.”

Erwin van Spil

Resident in the Department of Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology

"Around 240 million people around the world suffer from osteoarthritis, a chronic joint disease for which treatment options are scarce. My goal is to help improve non-surgical treatment for these people. I think we can get there when we combine expertise and creativity from the great variety of professionals and patients in the field and make sure that we are constantly aware of our responsibility to patients and societies. Academic medical centers, like the UMC Utrecht, should be at the core and provide a solid base to support such efforts."

Jurjen Luykx

Psychiatrist at Brain Center Rudolf Magnus

"Rendering science actionable poses true challenges on researchers. Translational medicine is all about this, both short term and long term. To me personally, the awareness of translational models that are actionable made me shift my research focus to genetics-informed prediction of treatment response and side effects."

Maud Verhoef

Programme Coordinator MSc &PhD Epidemiology, Julius Center

“Knowledge about a translational approach to research should already be taught early on in research masters. So when performing your research, from an internship and onwards, translational thoughts and questions must cross your mind: How can my work help or benefit others and how will I be able to reach them?”

Marc van Mil

Innovation of education Biomedical Sciences

"In my view, education plays a crucial role in overcoming the challenges in translational medicine. (Future) heath care professionals from different disciples should be challenged to cross existing boundaries and work interdisciplinary. This is exactly what the EUREKA certificate course did to me."

Stefan van Geelen

Program manager UMC Utrecht Educational Strategy, Senior Researcher Philosophy of Medicine

"Translational medicine is unique in creatively trying to bridge the continuum from elemental scientific ideas to concrete clinical applications, and to do so within a broad societal context. I believe the future of translational medicine lies in opening up its scholarly domains (moving beyond a rather narrow focus on biomedicine) and in also reversing the traditional directions in which knowledge is thought to be transferred. In other words, how can pressing societal issues be translated to healthcare practice and subsequently lead to new basic research?"

Trudy Straetemans

Scientific Project Leader, Tumor Immunology section

“Translational medicine happens when different worlds and disciplines connect, collaborate and join forces in order to realize improved treatment strategies. I am proud that I have made these connections and that I am working with an amazing diverse group of people that enabled the treatment of the first patients with “TEG001 cells”, a cellular gene therapy product developed and produced within the UMC Utrecht.”

Eric van Diessen

Resident in Pediatrics, postdoctoral researcher Pediatric Neurology

Impactful. Accessible. Collaboration. Three key ingredients for translation medicine.  The Eureka Certificate Course made me realize how easily we drift away from its main purpose: doing something meaningful for the patient. The Eureka community helped me to re-evaluate my own research and set new goals as a clinician-scientist.

Niels Bovenschen

Associate Professor and Group leader, Department of Pathology 

Think big, act accordingly, and always keep the end goal in mind. Translational Medicine acts on the interplay between patient problems (society) and basic biomedical research. To achieve a long-term and more sustainable beneficial outcome of this interplay, I believe in effective coupling of Translational Medicine to undergraduate education, including discovery learning and patient participation. This generates strong synergy between healthcare, research, and education, with the goal of fostering Translational Medicine and helping patients.