Photo credits: Als Ik Later Groot Ben

Virology Treasure Hunt

When we were children, adults around us would probably ask us this question: “What would you like to be when you grow up?”. Many children would say that they would like to be a ballerina, policeman, or doctor. However, one girl in the Netherlands responded “I would like to be a virologist!”. To make her dream come true, OrganoVIR Labs collaborated with Als Ik Later Groot Ben, a Dutch organization that helps children in the Netherlands, and curated an unforgettable day in the laboratory for the little future virologist.

To ensure that the girl has a memorable day at our lab in Amsterdam UMC, Katja Wolthers, co-head of OrganoVIR Labs, enlisted the help of Julie van der Post (Paediatrician-in-training at Amsterdam UMC), Joep Korsten (Research Technician at OrganoVIR Labs), Carlemi Calitz (Postdoc Researcher at OrganoVIR Labs), and Dara Satrio (Science Communications Officer).


Together, the virology team designed a virology-themed treasure hunt in which the girl was able to bring her favorite stuffed animal to be diagnosed for a virus infection at the Amsterdam UMC hospital. With the help of technicians Paul and Karlijn from the serology laboratory and microbiologist in training Eduard Herkes, she was able to fully experience how patients are diagnosed with a viral infection, and how viruses are studied. During the treasure hunt, she also spent some time in our research laboratory to take a closer look at some viruses through a microscope.


At the end of her visit, the girl was rewarded with a certificate for completing the virology treasure hunt. “These people like viruses as much as I do!” she said enthusiastically to her parents, her eyes beaming with joy.