Dr. Wilma Steegenga graduated in 1990 in Biomedical Sciences from Leiden University. She earned her PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Alex van der Eb at Leiden University where she studied “The functional and structural characteristics of the tumour suppressor gene p53”. In 1996 she obtained a postdoctoral position in the department of Molecular Cancer research headed by Prof. Dr. Hans Bos at Utrecht University. Here she examined the potential use of mutant adenoviruses for the diagnosis of p53-deficient head and neck tumours in collaboration with Dr. Piet Slootweg. In 1999 she moved to Nijmegen where she became a post-doc in de department of Applied Biology and analysed gene expression regulation during osteoblast differentiation by microarray analysis. In 2003 she started as a post-doc at the Division of Human Nutrition in Wageningen. Initially, she investigated the effects of nutrients on bone health. In 2006 she became Assistant Professor focussing on nutrition-regulated embryonic programming and the impact on aging. Her current research is focussed on the intestinal health. With in vivo and in vitro experiments she investigates the effects of nutrients on the intestinal membrane with a specific interest in the effects induced by microbiota-derived bioactive compounds. During the last few years the Gut-brain axis became her major field of interest.
In addition to gut-brain research I also have a passion for education innovation. For the last 6 years together with other WUR lectureres, I have developed a new course: "BVG skills portfolio" in which students of the Bachelor nutrition and health develop Collaboration, Presenting and (Academic) Writing skills during the 3 years of their study programme.