Blog Lobke De la Ruelle, PhD candidate.

Hi to all.

In October 2022, I was able to start my PhD because of the financial support of DBRIC. Most Dutch chiropractors will most likely have heard of me in the meanwhile, but maybe it is less known among the Belgian colleagues that I’ve been working on research together with DBRIC. Therefore, I would like to use this first blog to introduce myself.

DBRIC proposed that I would keep all the Belgian and Dutch colleagues up to date more regularly, with the purpose that the clinicians get a clearer idea what is happening within my research world. Besides this, it might also give clinicians a better idea what it is like to do research, to hopefully inspire them to become active as researchers themselves. Are you someone that is interested in research, and would you like to talk about it or ask questions? Please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be more than happy to have a conversation about this, answer your questions or help you get in contact with the correct people if you have already decided to become an active member of our chiropractic research team.

My name is Lobke De la Ruelle. I grew up at the border between Belgium and the Netherlands, in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. Despite never having lived in Belgium, I do have both nationalities. This way I hope to be a good representative of both the countries that constituted DBRIC. 

In 2016 I graduated from the Welsh Institute of Chiropractic (WIOC), where my interest in research was sparked during my master’s thesis. My first involvement with a project run by the research group of the VU Amsterdam was in 2020. 

During this first project I received a lot of guidance and support from my two supervisors: Sidney Rubinstein and Annemarie de Zoete. It was a good starting project, as the data had already been collected. I really enjoyed this project and therefore continued to my second project, slightly bigger. This time around I gathered my own data and I got the idea to work more independently and I could  steer the project in my own direction apart from the bureaucratic tasks, like obtaining funding and medical-ethical approval. 

At the beginning of 2020 I had already indicated that I would be interested in doing a PhD.  When I got the opportunity to do so in 2022, I grabbed it with both hands.

But what do I do on a day-to-day basis? Mainly I’m a clinician. Since 2021 I have my own clinic, in which I work 4 days a week. I have a contract with the VU for 2 days a week. On Tuesdays and Fridays, I work shorter days in the clinic, and spend the rest of the day working for the VU. On Wednesdays the clinic is closed, and I work for the VU from home. This is a beautiful theoretical agenda, but most of the time it doesn’t work out this way. Sometimes there’s a lot of work for the VU, then I do some work in the evenings or in the weekends. Other moments you must wait for a response or approval, and you can take it easier.

Because I live quite far away from the university (2,5 hours one way), I mainly work from home. Sometimes it’s better to go to the university, to discuss or attend things in person. On average I travel to the VU about once every 2 months. The colleagues at the VU are luckily very understanding and supportive of this. The downside of it is that I don’t have a lot of contact with other researchers of the department, like other PhD students for example.

The coming three years (at least) I will be working on my PhD and will try to give you all a small update of the different stages of this big project. In the beginning this might be a bit more frequent because I would like to share a few of the steps of the previous year with you all. After a while this will be less, as in some stages of the research, there is simply not a lot to report on.

Also, I’m planning to become a bit more active on Twitter/X. At this moment my account is fairly empty, but feel free to follow me. @LobkeRuelle 

Warm regards, 

Lobke De la Ruelle