“My friends often didn’t know what I was doing. They felt like they were reading a fantasy novel. That’s why I made the cover of my thesis look like one. I was one of the few researchers not involved in oncology. I was studying leishmaniasis instead. This often neglected tropical disease is one of the greatest parasitic killers, only coming second to malaria. This condition is spread by sand flies instead of mosquitoes. The illness is terrible: it affects the spleen, liver, and bone marrow. Once the parasite infiltrates the skin, it causes painful craters. The currently available medicines are old and rather toxic, which is why we run clinical trials to find cheap but effective alternatives. I worked at the pharmacy’s bioanalytical laboratory to acquire data for these clinical trials. I wanted to map out the medication in the skin, for which I used an enzyme to dissolve skin biopsies until they had a watery substance. It’s a rather unique method to create homogeneous tissue, but it leads to reliable measurements. It is great to be able to do research that can make the world just a tiny bit better.”
Ignace will defend his thesis on February 22.
This research was financially supported by ZonMW.
prof. dr. J.H. Beijnen
dr. T.P.C. Dorlo