I am an evolutionary biologist with a background in orchids. When I was a PhD student at Leiden University (1995-2000), I had the opportunity to visit Mark Chase at the Jodrell lab in the UK to receive help with reconstructing the molecular phylogeny of Asian necklace orchids. As a postdoc, I could visit the lab of Elena Kramer at Harvard University in the US with a Fulbright grant. During this visit, we managed to date the orchid family and start up evodevo research on orchids. With a MEERVOUD grant from the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research, I was appointed as associate professor at Leiden University and researcher at Naturalis Biodiversity Center. In 2011, I also had the opportunity to start up a chair in Biodiversity at the University of Applied Sciences in Leiden to gain more experience in working with various companies. I currently (co-)supervise nine PhD students and two postdocs, that all work on orchids or other fascinating plants.
In Plant.ID, I am the ethics officer and coordinator of the work package Applied molecular identification of plants. I help ESR6, ESR7, ESR10, and ESR15 directly, and other ESRs indirectly, with connecting their research to various societal stakeholders such as water quality assessment bodies, medical centers, city planners, CITES representatives, musical instrument builders and custom officers to ensure data are collected in such a way that end users can use the results directly to tackle challenges in their own work.