Meet the 12 Finalists of FameLab 2017! Their presentations at the National Final held at TivoliVredenburg are available on vimeo

FameLab Finalists 2017

Photo Linda Dijkshoorn

Linda Dijkshoorn

Linda completed a Bsc and Msc in Molecular Cell Biology and a PhD in Metabolic engineering and synthetic Biology.  She is currently working to engineer bacillus subtilis to consume methanol and methane gas in an effort to make pharmaceutical production more sustainable! Linda wants the kids of the future to be able to get lost in nature, make witches’ soups and still find all those creatures and critters that inspired her and led her to science.

Photo Christian Eistrup

Christian Eistrup

Christian earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in astronomy from the University of Copenhagen and University of Hawai’i. In 2014, he moved to Leiden to pursue a PhD in astrochemistry. Christian uses computer models to simulate chemical reactions in the material that forms planets. He uses this to predict what molecules planets are made out of. The ultimate goal? To detect life in space! Christian takes up any opportunity on the side to tell about his research, and astronomy in general.


Tjitske van Engelen

Tjitske van Engelen

Born in Amsterdam, Tjitske completed her medical degree at the University of Amsterdam. As a PhD candidate she studies blood poisoning. This is a severe disease where an infection leads to organ failure, which she encountered often during her work as a medical doctor. After work Tjitske finds peace of mind by running or cycling through Amsterdam’s beautiful nature surroundings. Also, this year the famous Dutch iceskating contest The Elfstedentocht will be held. Yes. She is sure.

Photo Joen Hermans

Joen Hermans

Joen studied chemistry and nanomaterials at Utrecht University. Looking for a challenging research project, he started a PhD project at the University of Amsterdam on the chemical structure of aged oil paint and the mechanisms by which paintings may deteriorate. Once he has defended his PhD thesis in the week after the FameLab finals, he is keen to build a career in which he can spread his enthusiasm for science and teaching.

Photo Sophie Le Hesran

Sophie Le Hesran

Sophie was born in France, and grew up in Cameroon and Senegal. She studied agronomy in France, and got very enthusiastic about insects and mites, and how they can help us protect our crops. In 2015 she started a PhD at Wageningen University, on Phytoseiulus persimilis : a predatory mite used for biological pest control. “People don’t imagine how helpful these tiny organisms can be!”. She wants to show people how diverse science is, and how, if well explained, everything can become fascinating!

Photo Roberto Narcisi

Roberto Narcisi

After receiving  his PhD in Biotechnology at the University of Genova (Italy), Roberto moved to the Erasmus MC where he became passionate about the use of stem cells to develop innovative tissue engineering cell-based approaches for cartilage repair. After a secondment at the Stanford School of Medicine, Roberto is now senior postdoc at the Orthopaedics department at the Erasmus MC. Outside of work, Roberto’s passions lie in his family (wife and 2 kids) and marathon running.

Photo Selma van Staveren

Selma van Staveren

Selma studied Medicine at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and obtained two Masters degrees: in 2012 she graduates as a MSc. in Molecular Medicine and in 2014 as a medical doctor. After her studies she started as a PhD candidate in Immunology at the UMC Utrecht (Koenderman group). The group focusses on neutrophil function in health and disease.

Laura Steenbergen

Laura Steenbergen

After completing her master’s degree in cognitive neuroscience (2014), Laura successfully defended her PhD dissertation on ‘cognitive enhancement’ (2016). Laura is mainly interested in finding methods to optimise cognitive functioning (attention, memory, etc.). She is currently investigating gut-brain interactions in relation to human cognition. Laura loves to talk about her field of science and one of her most important goals is for all of us to reach for our human potential!

Photo Vakil Takhaveev

Vakil Takhaveev

Vakil is a PhD student at the University of Groningen. He wants to discover how the cell coordinates hundreds of its chemical reactions. Vakil studied bioengineering and bioinformatics at Moscow State University. He arrived there from a tiny village in central Siberia. Its pristine nature had inspired his fascination with biology. Vakil is very grateful to his amazing wife Alisa, also a biology PhD student, who supports him in all endeavours.

Eline van der Valk

Eline van der Valk

Eline is a medical doctor who obtained her Master’s degree in medicine at the University of Utrecht in 2013. She then started her specialist training in Internal Medicine at the Amphia Hospital in Breda. However, the curiosity for science grew so strong that halfway her residency she interrupted her training to start a PhD in the field of Endocrinology, studying the relation between obesity and the stress hormone cortisol. She hopes to combine science and patient care in her future work.