Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Professor Willem van Schaik

Professor Willem van Schaik

Professor Willem van Schaik
University of Birmingham
Who is your scientific inspiration and why?

I am fascinated by the enormous diversity of microbial life and the adaptability of the multi-drug resistant pathogens that cause increasing numbers of infections among hospitalised patients. While it is difficult to identify a single researcher as a scientific inspiration, I am particularly inspired by researchers who perform incredibly well-designed experiments to understand the evolution and costs of antibiotic resistance (e.g. Craig Maclean, Dan Andersson) and those that implement modern genomics approaches to explore the diversity of microbial ecosystems (e.g. Jill Banfield).

In three words or phrases how would you describe your supervision style?

Supportive, collaborative, curious about exploring new lines of research.

In one or two sentences please describe your strategies regarding the following.
Provision of training:

I will provide training in both laboratory skills and bioinformatics throughout your PhD. I also find it important that students become skilled in presenting their work and scientific writing and will provide training on these topics as well.

Progression monitoring and management:

Progression monitoring and management is formally organised through MDS’s system of monthly progress meetings (‘GRS2s’) which are logged and saved for future reference. However, further weekly or fortnightly meetings and ad hoc catch-ups in the lab are just as important to monitor progress and provide support and training.

Communication:

My group has an active Slack channel which is the most effective way to quickly ask me questions and get advice from other group members. I do not expect my group members to read or respond to messages on Slack or emails over the weekend. My office door (real or via Zoom) is always open for my group members to discuss technical issues, problems or successes.

How often do your PhD students see you in a timetabled group meeting?

At least once per week

In year 1 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per week

In year 2 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per fortnight

In year 3 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per fortnight

What form do your 1:1 meetings with PhD students take?

Face to face (if allowed under current health and safety advice)

Open door policy?

Yes, I am usually contactable for an instant response (if required) on every working day.