I am a trained Biomedical scientist and obtained my diplomas in Belgium before starting my PhD research in the Netherlands. In my project, we aim to dissect the hypothalamic neuron-glia interactions in regulation of energy homeostasis. Circadian misalignment, such as eating out of phase with the endogenous biological clock, can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. One population that is repeatedly subjected to circadian misalignment and its detrimental metabolic developments are shift workers. In this project, our overall goal is to study the impact of time-restricted feeding on energy metabolism and brain function in pre-diabetic animal models. Hereby, our focus is to investigate the role of microglia, which are immune cells in the central nervous system, maintaining a healthy micro-environment for neurons that are involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis and metabolism. The study will help to understand the neurobiological and molecular mechanisms that underlie the adverse effects of circadian desynchronization, such as induced by shift work, on metabolic health and investigate how to minimize these adverse effects.
My first encounter with the biological clock was at University during a lecture about Model Organisms: Drosophila melanogaster. In terms of personal chronobiology, I like to wake up at 5AM. Therefore I am an early bird and I start my day before the majority does. Besides researching, I love to play the guitar and furthermore I like to spend hours on the bicycle as a recreative cyclist.
The BioClock Consortium is funded by the NWA-ORC programme of the Dutch Research Council (NWO; project number 1292.19.077).