I was born and raised in The Hague, The Netherlands and graduated from the Van Leeuwenhoek Institute in Delft with an MBO in microbiology. I began my career in science in the research & development department of Gist Brocades BV, a Biotech Company in Delft, which later merged with, and took the name of, DSM. Over the years with DSM I worked in several different departments and fields of research, including analysis, fermentation, genetics, and microbiology. I spent my last years with DSM in the Screening/Conversation Unit, tasked with maintaining, selecting and shipping microorganisms to subsidiary companies and collaborators around the world. After many years of work in the biotech field I was ready for a new challenge.
In 2000 I took a sabbatical year and traveled to Central America to study Spanish in Antigua, Guatemala and to contemplate what the focus of the next phase of my life should be. Soon I was working as a volunteer at El Buen Samaritano, a shelter for street children in Jogotenango. Inspired by the good work being performed there, I returned to The Netherlands and started a non-profit foundation to raise funds for the project. The foundation became a great success with the help and support of many volunteers and contributors in The Netherlands and continues to be a vital source of funding and support for the shelter and the children it helps.
During my time in Central America I met my future husband, Mitch, a Colorado native. After a yearlong relation, we were married in The Netherlands in 2001 and I moved to Colorado in February of 2002.
I love working in science but I was not feeling fulfilled working on industrial applications. I became interested in the prospect of working in medical research where my work would have a more direct impact on people and their quality of life. In June of 2002, I accepted a position in Dr. Jerry Lefkowitz’ lab at University of Colorado School of Medicine where the focus was on coagulation specific research on the coagulation proteins Prothrombin and Thrombin. In 2007, Dr. Lefkowitz moved his lab to New York City. I got a tip about an opening in the OB/GYN Department in Dr. Virginia Winn lab. After talking with her and the people around her about the research she is doing, I felt that was the place I wanted to be. It has been a big challenge for me to move into clinical work. Now, I feel like the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together. I love the subject, placenta research. My background in the biotech industry helped me to develop organizational skills that are very useful in this lab, where everyone is focused on the science. The last year has been great, I have already learned so much and I still have a lot to learn. Virginia’s enthusiasm and passion are infectious and the people we work with are great.
Colorado is a great place to live. The sun is always shining and the skiing in the winter is great, two things I can’t say about my native land. I try to get to the mountains as often as possible with Mitch and our dog, Jake, who loves the snow and walking through the mountains with us. I am still passionate about traveling and experiencing other cultures. I love to read. My favorite book is “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.