20 February 2024
Carbyon’s first two carbon removal installations will help clean the Québec skies
In Brainport Eindhoven we change the world because here we develop key technologies that change society. We can only do that because of our pioneers. So we’d like you to meet one of our pioneers: Sanne ten Damme.
My name is Sanne ten Damme and I am 20 years old. Originally I'm from Hilversum, but since the beginning of my studies, I've been living in Eindhoven.
I am a second-year bachelor student of Medical Science and Technology at TU/e. I chose this program because I always wanted to do something with health. I have always found it interesting. I want to help people, give something back to others. I found medicine itself very one-sided; there you mainly learn how to solve diseases.
I also looked at studies at Delft University of Technology, but there was less focus on inventing and adding new things. At TU/e you look further. You don't only learn what is available now, but you also look beyond what else is possible. It is very future-oriented. There will be a lot more technology in the medical world and I would like to be part of that.
I would like to do the master that follows on from my bachelor, with the Master track Regenerative Medicine and Technology of Eindhoven University of Technology and Utrecht University. But first I want to do a gap year after my bachelor. I am still young, so I don't mind finishing my studies a year later. Besides, my sister will also have a gap year after high school and together with my parents, we will travel for a few months. After that I would like to work or do some internship, to get some more experience in the direction of my studies.
I am team captain at the TU/e sensing team (T.E.S.T.) since the end of 2020. With 10 students we are developing a biosensor for Influenza A and specifically the swine flu from 2009. We are making a biosensor. That is a device where you put saliva in and within 5 minutes you get the result if the virus is found and in what concentration. Every year we participate in the SensUs Student Competition and hopefully, we will win this year.
There is not much demand for swine flu detection now, but Influenza-A per se. The past five pandemics, apart from COVID-19, were all Influenza-A and the next pandemic is predicted to be Influenza-A as well. We did see how important it is to know if someone has a virus, so this is an important biosensor.
Normally it’s master students who are team captains, but I am quite young so sometimes it is difficult because as a second-year student I have less knowledge than a master student.
Every year there is a completely new team, but we do get some guidance from the previous team. The advantage is that you can set your course. You have several prizes to win, so you can decide whether you want to improve an existing biosensor or develop a completely new one. We are currently working on a new technique. So new that we are going to get a patent on it in August.
We didn't come up with it entirely on our own. Professor Menno Prins has been developing the technique for several years. We came into contact with him by chance and wanted to develop this technique further for the biosensor. It is really very exciting if this succeeds! It is also applicable to several viruses. You can add all sorts of antibodies to detect other viruses.
I noticed that my courses are very theoretical. It's more like learning what is already there. But I want to discover and develop new things. We do that in the team and that makes me very happy.
I always used to say I wanted to win the Nobel Prize, but maybe that's too far fetched. Just being in the lab doesn't seem extremely fun, although I have yet to experience that. But I'd really like to do some research, to come up with something new and be able to add to it. I'd like to be able to say later on, “Look, I thought of this. I made this.”
Look beyond your studies. There are many student teams and in TU/e innovation Space you can do many projects. There are also sports clubs and student associations. You can do so much more than just follow your subjects. It is nice to do this during your time as a student before serious life begins. The offer is overwhelming, but it can be done on a large scale or a small scale. You can do almost anything you can think of. So go do that. Now you can.