Lisanne van Heijst
Where were you born?
Beilen, a village in the province Drenthe in the Netherlands with approximately 10.000 inhabitants.
What kind of studies do/will you work on?
I will mostly focus on fluorescence molecular endoscopy to aid diagnosis and surveillance of cancers and inflammatory diseases in the gastroenterology tract, mainly focusing on the esophagus and the colon. This novel imaging technique will hopefully improve detection rates of (pre)cancerous lesions or inflammation.
Why do you want to do research/work in this field?
With the current techniques we often detect esophageal cancer in an advanced stadium which limits treatment options and results in poor five-year survival rates. With the improvement of detection rates of cancer and inflammation we can provide more successful treatment options and better disease management with surveillance. This can hopefully improve survival rates and quality of life for patients struggling with these diseases.
What is your background/did you study?
I am studying Medicine at the University of Groningen and following the MD/PhD program. This means that the master Medicine and PhD will be combined. It is expected that I finish my master Medicine in 2024 and my PhD in 2025.
What relevant experiences did you gain during your study?
I was active within a committee of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations. However, my interest in conducting research started to grow after the opportunity to write my master thesis within the OMIG group during my fourth year of Medicine.
What relevant experiences did you gain in your prior career?
Working in a nursery home for several years where I had a lot of patient contact gave me more insight into the organization of the health care system and the impact of certain medical decisions on patients and their caretakers. I also worked on a research team at the emergency department of the UMCG researching septic shock where I mostly gained experience in patient contact, laboratory diagnostics and organizational tasks.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
Performing sports has always been part of my life and nowadays I enjoy working out in the gym. I also like walking in the Netherlands or exploring nature in a foreign country. Other hobbies are cooking and enjoying company of friends and family.