Sebastián Ayala Ruano (Ecuador), Systems Biology
The Systems Biology master’s programme is the perfect combination of the research fields I am interested in (Biology, Math, and Computer Science)

I chose UM for my master’s studies because of two main reasons. First, the Systems Biology master’s programme is the perfect combination of the research fields I am interested in (Biology, Math, and Computer Science), and its curriculum offers a wide variety of subjects to learn the foundations of Systems Biology. The other reason was that I was awarded the UM Holland-High Potential Scholarship for international students, which helped me to realise my dream of studying for my master’s degree at UM.

Could you please introduce yourself shortly?

I am a young Ecuadorian researcher and freelance data scientist. I actively participate in several researches, open science, and software development communities like the International Society for Computational Biology Student Council. Moreover, I am involved in various initiatives to empower bioinformatics in Ecuador and Latin America. When I am not working, I can be found riding my mountain bike, hiking, listening to music, watching thrillers or documentary films, or reading books about science, communication, mystery, or history.

What was your first impression of your master’s programme at Maastricht University?

I had a good impression of the Systems Biology master’s programme because of the problem-based learning educational methodology, international orientation, and the high quality of research developed at the Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology and other research institutes.

Which courses are most interesting?

Until now, all of the courses I have taken have been great. However, the most interesting (and difficult) course has been Modelling Biosystems. This is because I have never had a course about mathematical modelling and how to understand biological systems from a mechanistic point of view. After the course, I was able to understand the foundations of this sub-field of Systems Biology, and I want to combine this knowledge with the content of other courses and my previous experience with data-driven methods.

What are your plans after graduating?

After graduating, I would like to either pursue a PhD in the Netherlands or take on a job in the sector. Five years from now, I envision myself creating software or computational methods for drug discovery, either in the academy or industry. Also, I want to be involved in projects of technology and knowledge transfer between Europe and Ecuador or other countries in Latin America.

Other testimonials

  • Thijs van Loo
    Thijs Van Loo (Netherlands), Systems Biology
    To me, Problem-Based Learning is about learning and understanding problems together with your classmates, while having guidance from your teachers. This forced me to think more about course materials allowing me to understand better.
  • Liam Glueck
    Liam Glueck (Ireland) Systems Biology
    Throughout my bachelor’s Biomedical Sciences in Maastricht, I developed a strong interest in the intersection of biomedical science and mathematics, hence Systems Biology was the perfect choice to challenge myself within both domains.
  • Iga Skorupska
    Iga Skorupska (Poland) Systems Biology
    I chose Systems Biology as it combined my interests – biology and computer science and therefore, Systems Biology seemed like the best of both worlds.
  • Paula Casademunt Porte
    Paula Casademunt Porte (Spain), Systems Biology
    Coming from a large city, Barcelona, it was quite a big change when I first came to Maastricht. However, since it is a student city, there is always something to do. Especially during the warmer months, there are loads of events, concerts, activities.
  • Rosan Olsman
    Rosan Olsman (The Netherlands), Systems Biology
    I chose the Systems Biology master at Maastricht University because of the application of systems biology approaches especially for human health.
  • Systems Biology - Testimonial - Caroline
    Caroline Collins (Scotland), Systems Biology
    Learning with others is a beautiful experience