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Research in an aquarium

Research in an aquarium

Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts

More often than not, a lab consists of isolated ‘corners’ where research groups work with their own equipment. This kind of fragmentation is a thing of the past in the new lab run by the department of surgery and the M4I institute, respectively by Prof. Steven Olde Damink and Prof. Ron Heeren. Here, on the fifth floor of UNS 50, where scientists have bundled their expertise, we find a lab with shared facilities. Not only do surgery and M4I buy equipment together, they also make better use of each other’s appliances. According to lab managers Hans van Eijk and Berta Cillero-Pastor, this used to be more difficult because the equipment was permanently used by the staff of the department concerned.

With shared lab facilities, chances of research subsidies are also greater. Van Eijk: “In the past, a lot of the subsidies remained in the Randstad, where scientists had already joined hands. The more co-operation, the better the money is spent, funders think. As far as that is concerned, we have turned our disadvantage around in Maastricht and this lab is now more or less an example of what a lab should be like. At the same time, we have taken a leap when it comes to the collection of mass spectrometers. We now have about ten, including professor Heeren’s high-end systems.”

Another noticeable feature is the large number of glass walls. The views are divided. “Some people don’t like them at all,” says Van Eijk. “Others feel fine in such an aquarium.”

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