Student with erlenmeyer flask in a laboratory

Graduate of VHL University of Applied Sciences in Biotechnology Jelte-Jan Reitsma is a researcher at Genmab B.V. in Utrecht. He works in a lab as a Research Associate in Cell and Molecular Sciences. He focuses on protein production.

Working in groups

‘I started out as a carpenter. After about a year I found out that I wanted to study, so I did a career opportunities test and started checking out all the vocational trainings that interested me. In the end I chose Biotechnology.’

Everything that I expected

'The training turned out to be everything that I expected. Project-based learning was popular at the time, so we worked in groups a lot. This was not the best preparation for working individually, but I think the point was to teach us that you can achieve more if you work together. My specialization (Process Engineering) was a result of my interest in bioreactors. I wanted to learn more about the technique behind them.’

Working in a lab

‘In my current job I focus mainly on protein production in bioreactors and other production devices. As a lab manager I’m also responsible for the planning of cleaning activities, ordering, equipment control and innovation. I also try out new devices, new production methods and I do the planning and production of new cell banks. I consult with the project managers about deadlines and quantities and who does what within my own group. I like the planning part – in the future I would like to get a position as manager.’


‘Just like VHL, our company works with competences. I think it’s very useful to find out what type of person you are first and then look for the competences that fit with that personality. The most important competence is probably teamwork. When you can solve problems on your own, it still isn’t worth anything if you can’t pass on the knowledge to others.’

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