Insect enthusiast and Ynsecter of four years, there’s nothing Marlou doesn’t know about beetles. Beginning her studies at the prestigious Wageningen University in Animal Sciences, she completed a PhD in Animal Sciences, digestive physiology, and during her work as a researcher, she also completed a Master’s in Food Science and Toxicology . Marlou knew that she wanted to work with living things from a young age, but as a child, she pictured herself more as a doctor than researcher: “In the Netherlands, there is a “numerus fixus” for the medicine study. This works like a lottery, I tried four times (while having started with animal science), but was very unfortunate getting numbers way to high to get a place. I finally gave up on it, but I don’t have any regrets!” Her academic background and career led her to work on farm-animal related topics for more than 30 years: “even though my tasks were varied, I had worked in the same field for a long time. I wanted to do something new. By doing some research, I came across a job offer at Ÿnsect as a research engineer in Entomology. I had a look and felt it was a perfect match!”
Marlou likes the teamwork and hands-on nature of her job the most: “even if I like research and books, it’s great to be in action a lot of the time, on site”. Today, she works on all insect food-related topics, in a team of four people: “the fact that we all have different expertise and complete each other’s missing skills is great; it creates strong synergies between us“. In her opinion, this expertise is crucial to working in farms of the future: “I think it is essential to have knowledge in both food and animal sciences. Insects are so new that it’s important to get the basics right. On top of the science aspect, I would say that empathy and the capacity to see the bigger picture are the most important qualities to succeed in this adventure“.
If team spirit is so important within the company, it’s because it’s synonymous with success: “among the company’s values, solidarity is the one that speaks to me the most. I think it’s primordial that the group works as a team: it’s only by supporting, coming together, and advancing that we can reach our goals. A divided team means failure“. For Marlou, moments together should be cherished: “my favourite memories? Without a doubt, when people bring in cakes made from insect flour to share!“