OnePlanet Research Center as the ideal place for learning

OnePlanet Research Center as the ideal place for learning

Bibi Zhara Qazizada


Bibi Zhara Qazizada is 22 years old and a third-year biomedical technology student at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. This academic year, she chose to do an internship with imec at the OnePlanet Research Center, where she worked on the Smart Bathroom project. For her, OnePlanet is the ideal place for learning: “You really blossom here.”

“I came into contact with OnePlanet at an internship fair for my course. Eva Wentink (principal member of technical staff at OnePlanet – Ed.) was presenting a smart toilet seat there, which measures all kinds of health factors with sensors while you’re sitting on it. That made me curious.”

“The measurements made by the smart toilet seat or toilet bowl are part of a wider project to bring care closer to home. Sensors that measure a person’s hydration level, for example, can be used to give dietary advice without a visit to the doctor. My supervisor, Anita Ahmadi (researcher at OnePlanet – Ed.) and I validate the sensors.”


Working on the basics

Zhara started her internship in September 2023. The research she was working on had just begun. “It’s amazing that I can work with Anita on the basics of this research. Someone else will then build on our research results. Anita is a fantastic supervisor who basically lets me do everything myself. She keeps an eye on me, sees what I can do and gives me responsibility. The team also listen to my comments and suggestions. The people at OnePlanet encourage me to ask questions too, which really helps me progress.”

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences set up its Biomedical Technology program three years ago. Zhara explains: “As the very first students, we’re the guinea pigs for the program. For example, we’re the first to do internships. I never thought I’d get what I wanted first time.” She’s even thinking of doing a graduation internship with imec. “Maybe in Eindhoven, where imec is working on artificial organs at the Holst Centre.”


Heart and soul

“During my internship at OnePlanet, I’ve been able to put my heart and soul into my work. When I started, it was kind of intimidating: all the new people, and a big organization. I wasn’t sure how it would work out. But everyone is so friendly and open-minded. I’ve found out here what I enjoy: lab work, for example. And I’ve realized I want to work for an organization that makes an impact and contributes to a better world for everyone; there’s more to life than just earning money. I can take everything I’ve learned here with me on my development path.”

Next semester, Zhara will be spending six months in Monterrey, Mexico. She is taking a minor there with a focus on business economics. “Ultimately, I’d like to have my own business. Financial knowledge is very important for that, but you also really learn a great deal by being in a different culture.” Her time in Mexico will also give her the opportunity to learn Spanish. Languages are one of Zhara’s great passions. She speaks fluent Dutch, English and two Afghan languages (Farsi and Pashto), she understands German and is learning Russian. “If you want to get to know another culture, language is a great way to communicate.”

Zhara has a practical mindset. “I try things out, I want to see the end result and, preferably, I make things with my own hands.” In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, gardening, and baking. She regularly treated her colleagues at OnePlanet to homemade brownies or lemon cake. “If I can’t win them over with my personality, I bring out the cookies,” she says with a grin.

Bibi Zhara Qazizada – Lab