With its high number of students, Nijmegen is the ideal location for a Health and High Tech company that needs skilled people. For students, it’s valuable to get a sense of the possibilities for life after their academic studies. On January 18, Enzyre organized an informative day on the Novio Tech Campus for medicine and molecular life sciences students of Radboud University, we spoke to the students to find out what they learned.
It’s all about the quality of life
Enzyre specializes in near-patient diagnostics, with a focus on blood coagulation. The Novio Tech Campus-based company has been doing so since 2016. Through effective diagnostics, Enzyre aims to improve the quality of life for hemophilia patients. One of those patients is involved with Enzyre himself. In the past, Chris van den Brink worked as a laboratory technician in hematology, and he ended up as a volunteer in an advisory role for the company. Chris knew Waander, co-founder of Enzyre, from his former work, and he now helps the company better understand the needs of patients. “I now have the opportunity to help other patients by giving Enzyre feedback, helping them develop the final product further”, says Chris. To the students, he is a perfect example of the importance of Enzyre’s work.
Doctors of the future
For Enzyre, the most important objective of the day was to inform students about the possibilities of point-of-care solutions for patients, as well as the doors that telemedicine can open to both physicians and patients. The work that is performed at the Novio Tech Campus can heavily influence the work of physicians in the future since these developments offer patients the ability to perform laboratory tests at home and communicate with physicians about the results, which makes it relevant for students to learn about these companies.
Students followed the program as part of a minor, and they learned a lot about thrombosis and hemostasis and specifically hemophilia. Often, there is no attention to the commercial aspects in the curriculum of these studies, but this masterclass helps students to get acquainted with the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industry. For many of them, this was a first introduction to the Novio Tech Campus. Much to the surprise of Kylian, a third-year student of medicine, who had no idea that there was a Health and High Tech campus right around the corner from where he lived. Joris, also in his third year of medicine, agreed: “this brings extra life to my studies. Getting to know these companies and what they do, makes you realize why you study.”
Putting studies to practice
Many of the students said they were already thinking about what comes after their studies. By moving out of the lecture hall and going out into the world of Health and High Tech, their studies come to life. Lucas was already interested in hematology, which hemophilia belongs to. “Eventually, we are going to do internships where we’ll see just how good of a fit the different disciplines are, but it’s nice to learn more about hemophilia already.” The students all agree on the value of spending the day at Novio Tech Campus. It’s a more than welcome alternative to the (online) classes.
During the lunch break, the students played a game. The ‘Bloodcoagulation Game’ confronts players with the impact of hemophilia on a patient’s life. Players can earn points by doing activities for a week that have different effects on the patient. Too much activity carries a risk of being hospitalized due to hemorrhages. Anne and Aruntha thought it was a creative way to make clear to their surroundings what people with hemophilia face every day. “We were hospitalized after only a few ‘days.’ This made it very clear, very quickly, how difficult it is to cope with hemophilia.”
The combination of in-depth talks and playing the game encouraged students to think about hemophilia differently. They were given insight into the progress that is made by companies that are doing research and saw the impact of hemophilia on the lives of patients. Chris hopes some of the students are inspired to contribute: “there is still a massive worldwide challenge to be able to give everyone the treatment they need. Showing students that this is an interesting challenge to work on, is an important next step.”