Education is very a important part of a PhD, and at Utrecht University we have the opportunity to supervise students at different levels. This has been challenging but also fun and rewarding.
My first experience with supervising was with 5 bachelor students. They were coming from two different programs, both Biology and Biomedical Sciences. They stayed with us for 5 weeks, and each of them had to learn how to clone, the reasoning behind it, and microinjections. The goal was to endogenously tag a gene of interest using CRISPR Cas9. I was in charge of teaching the experimental process of cloning.
After the bachelor students we had a group of 8 high-school students coming. They were part of a Dutch high-performance program called U-talent, in which they have several 1 week internships in the university. With us they learned how to handle C. elegans, as well as some simple techniques like RNAi and immuno-staining.
Finally, I just started my most challenging supervision up to date: supervising a master student who will be doing her major internship (>9 months) with us. She will be working closely with me as she will be involved in my project, and so far she has practiced basic C. elegans techniques, like crosses, lysis, PCRs, RNAi, stainings and a tiny bit of the more difficult cloning and microinjections.
I’m very glad we are given this opportunity as I’ve always been curious about teaching, and so far I’ve enjoyed it greatly.
Victoria G Castiglioni