Science - January 15, 2004

‘This is my first publication in Nature, but hopefully not the last’

Dr Ling Qin, a researcher at the Laboratory of Nematology who was born in China, is the first author of an article about the discovery of a protein in a nematode that was previously only known in the plant kingdom. This important discovery was published this month in the scientific journal Nature.

How special is this publication for you?
“It is difficult to be published in Nature. It is the most authoritative scientific journal in the world. Most of the articles published are on fundamental research and our work is more applied. It’s my first article in Nature, but I hope it’s not the last. I’ve received congratulations and e-mails from friends and acquaintances all over the world, even from members of my table tennis club in The Hague. And only a few researchers in Holland make it each year into high-ranking scientific journals like Nature and Science.”

Are your parents proud?
“They are very proud, even though they don’t understand much about my research.”

How long have you been working here in Wageningen?
“I came to Wageningen to do my PhD. I got my BSc in Beijing and after that went to Leiden to do an MSc. After my PhD graduation in 2001 I stayed on in Wageningen for postdoctoral research. I did have other offers, but I like it here and Wageningen is one of the best places in the world for nematology.”

What is your research about?
“I am doing postdoctoral research on the interaction between nematodes and plants. At the moment I’m writing a project proposal for NWO [Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research]. I think that my publication in Nature will increase my chances of success.

What are your scientific ambitions after Nature?
“More of the same! Research still fascinates me.”

One last comment, we have done this whole interview in Dutch.
“I learnt Dutch in Leiden at the Education Centre there. I think it’s important to learn the language of the country you’re in. Even though English is the language of science, it’s still important to understand Dutch for communicating with colleagues and to be able to participate in society here. I live here with my wife and six-year-old son, who not only speaks good Chinese, but also Dutch without any accent.”

Yvonne de Hilster

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