My name is Job Saris and I have graduated medical school in 2018 at the University of Amsterdam. Hereafter, I have embarked on my PhD trajectory at the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Amsterdam UMC. My main focus is to investigate the human peritoneal immune system in patients suffering gastrointestinal diseases, such as peritoneal metastasis. It is a combination of experiments in the lab with tissue collected from both patients and animal models. The link between patients in the hospital and the experimental set up in the lab is something you often witness in the Tytgat Institute.

How did you enroll into your PhD trajectory?

During my final clerkship at the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Amsterdam UMC (formerly known as AMC), I have started focus on potential PhD positions. I have had several meetings with some of the Principal Investigators (PI’s) of the department. With one of the residents, I had a similar meeting. His story was really clear and made me enthusiastic from the start. A new group with lots of freedom and responsibility. To finalize the project, we have had several meetings in which we discussed our ideas and wishes.

How is it going so far? 

Like any PhD project, this project goes slower and more difficult than anticipated. There will be always cases/experiments which don’t go according plan or unexpected setbacks. Luckily, both the team and myself are positive and meanwhile interesting results are found. Especially these moments, you should cherish and provide you with energy to move on! To change occupation from a physician to a PhD student in the lab is rather big. This sometimes is difficult and the desire to practice medicine again is at times bigger than usual. This is also one of the reasons why I continued to work in the outpatient clinic of the Gastroenterology department.

What do you like about your PhD trajectory? And what don't you like? 

The translational aspect of my research is really nice. To be in charge of the whole trajectory from patient inclusion, experimental set up and data interpretation is very enjoyable. Other than that, aspects like project management and teamwork also give me lots of energy. Lastly, I think that a PhD trajectory is also a period of personal development. The courses of the Doctoral School might be of help here.

Why are you proud to be an Amsterdam UMC PhD student?  

Being born and raised in Amsterdam, and having obtained my medical degree at the University of Amsterdam, I feel connected to the Amsterdam UMC. I love the city and culture and are fully aware it is a real privilege to be able to be a PhD candidate at the Amsterdam UMC. The knowledge and practical knowhow is abundant. This, in combination with the attitude of wanting to achieve more, is inspiring.

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