M.C.T. Verheijen

I, Marcha Verheijen, was born on March 25th 1987 in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. In high school, at the age of 14, my fascination with genetics started. After high school, from 2003 till 2007, I continued my studies at Leeuwenborgh Sittard. Because chemistry is at the basis of all biological reactions and most laboratory techniques, I choose to study ‘Chemical Laboratory Techniques’. Thereafter, I returned to biology during my bachelor of applied sciences in ‘Biology and Medical Laboratory Research’ at Hogeschool Zuyd Heerlen. By putting in some extra effort, I shortened my education to just over 3 years. I received my diploma in October 2010. At this moment in time, I had to decide whether it was my ambition to be a laboratory technician or if I preferred to continue my studies by obtaining a master’s degree. Since classes at the university had already started, I was not in a hurry to decide. In the meantime, PathoFinder BV, where I did one of my internships, offered me a temporary job to help out during their busy season, which I gladly accepted. During the 3 months working in this company, I realized that I would rather be actively involved in research projects, instead of only executing laboratory tests. Therefore, I signed up for a master’s program starting in September 2011. To pass the time, I got another temporary job (replacement for maternity leave) at the department of hereditary metabolic diseases at the academic hospital in Maastricht (AZM). Finally, I could start my masters study ‘Biomedical Sciences’ at Maastricht University with the specialization ‘Clinical Molecular Sciences’. I did my first internship at the department toxicology focusing on ‘transgenerational effects of paternal benzo[a]pyrene exposure and activation of retrotransposable elements’ and my second at the department clinical genomics researching ‘Mitochondrial dysfunction and genetics in Renal Cell Carcinoma’. After obtaining my master’s degree in 2013, I set out to find the perfect PhD project. During my search, I occupied myself with online courses, studying genetics & evolution, bioinformatics and python programming. On the 14th of April 2014, I started working as a PhD-student in the area toxicogenomics on the project entitled: HeCaToS, which resulted in the current thesis entitled “Transcriptomics close to my heart: Advanced models & methods for toxicogenomics research illustrated by anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity”. Directly after finishing my thesis, on 14th of October 2018, I continued my scientific carrier as a postdoc working on the CEFIC project “Towards the Development of an Omics Data Analysis Framework (ODAF) for Regulatory Application”. After completing this project in April 2020, I started working on the Interreg Herineringen (Memories) project, where I search for microRNA biomarkers for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.