Rik has always been fascinated with analyzing and modelling the world around him. He has been interested in areas as diverse as mechanical and civil engineering, rocket science, biology and fundamental physics. He started his academic career in pure mathematics, but at the same time, he developed a passion for data science and machine learning. In the middle of his PhD he decided to completely switch research direction and now studies applied mathematics and machine learning. He also keeps a blog where he toys with diverse topics in data science.
Rik is the editor of 4 Breaks:
How does the brain orchestrate survival?
Eating when hungry, drinking when thirsty and fear under threat are essential behaviors for animal survival produced by the long evolution of life. We found that the brain processes these simple survival behaviors in a surprisingly complex way. The brain encodes different survival behaviors using combinations of brain cell types, like the instruments in an orchestra playing different symphonies.Dec 16, 2021 | 4 min read
Hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19? Let’s listen to monkeys!
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many drugs have been tested to improve patient outcomes or reduce transmission. One of these drugs has generated hopes and tensions around the globe: hydroxychloroquine. We studied its effect against the virus responsible for the coronavirus pandemic under robust experimental conditions, on the most appropriate animal model we have: macaques.Oct 20, 2021 | 4 min read
Eating can be a real pain in the gut
Suffering from abdominal pain after eating, a common feature of patients with irritable bowel syndrome, is common yet difficult to treat. We found that an infection in the gut can cause the body to develop an immune response to specific foods. This means that you can develop an intolerance to certain foods causing abdominal pain after meals.Sep 3, 2021 | 4 min read
A surprisingly geologically active Venus – evidence for recent volcanic and tectonic activity
The surface of Venus is littered with ring-shaped structures called “coronae”, whose formation is often linked to tectonic and volcanic activity in the past. Yet, using computer simulations that mimic their formation, we show how these structures provide unique insights into the present-day dynamics of Venus’ interior. We identify dozens of locations on Venus with rising magma underneath.Jun 17, 2021 | 4.5 min read