It was not a festive happening, but a simple email in which Jelle de Jong read that he had won a prize. The master’s student in Nutrition and Health will receive 5000 euros for his research proposal into sepsis among patients.
© Kenneth van Zijl
Jelle currently commutes to the Human and Animal Physiology lab in Zodiac and the hospital in Ede. He started his research into sepsis patients in September. Sepsis, which is a very dangerous infection, can occur when pathogens (usually bacteria) enter the bloodstream through a wound, for example. Under normal circumstances, white blood cells would take care of the intruders. However, if the immune system refuses or is unable to help, the lymphatic system and various organs can get infected with the bacteria. The gravity of this condition becomes apparent from the figures: 30 percent of people affected by sepsis do not survive the syndrome.
The research focuses on mitochondria. They form the energy factories of the cell and are important for a proper functioning of organs. In the cells of sepsis patients, these factories malfunction in various cells – in muscles, organs and white blood cells. De Jong’s research aims to increase the insight into the progress of these problems over time, as well as the relation with other aspects of the illness. Jelle hopes to be able to analyse the blood of 30 patients.
Everyone at the hospital can join the competition: doctors, specialists and researchers. The fact that De Jong’s proposal was chosen says something about the significance for the hospital. The money will be used to finance part of the blood analyses. ‘With the prize money, we can perform additional blood analyses; I am really happy I was able to provide for this.’
Jelle de Jong carefully chooses his words when he is asked what he likes so much about this research. ‘That I was given the opportunity to build a bridge between the university and the hospital within my research; it gives me a lot of energy. I wanted to do something relevant for my thesis, and this study really gives me the feeling that I contribute something substantial to the care for sepsis patients.’