Arnoud Sonnenberg was trained in several laboratories in the USA
and the Netherlands before obtaining his PhD from the University of
Amsterdam. In 1990, he joined the Division of Cell Biology at the
Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, where he became head of
the Division in 2003. He has been an editor of the J. Cell Science
since 2005. The main objective of his research is to understand the
function of integrins in differentiation and migration, and how
integrins and associated proteins regulate the assembly of
multiprotein complexes at the cell substratum site in normal and
Kees Jalink is a biophysicist who is interested in designing and
developing technologies for tackling diverse biological questions.
He has brought many new technologies to the NKI and is an advisor
to three companies on the creation of new devices. He often builds
prototypes in the lab from individual pieces using sticky tape and
then invites industry in to make them user-friendly. His group
spends half of its time establishing new techniques and serving as
the NKI biophysical center of expertise for those techniques,
collaborating and publishing jointly with others. With the other
half, they focus on their own research on cellular adhesion
mechanisms involved in cancer.
Phospholipids are best known as the major building blocks of
cell membranes, but some lipids play a signaling rather than a
structural role. Our group is interested in nature's simplest
phospholipid, lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), which we discovered as a
lipid growth factor many years ago. Since then, our group has made
substantial progress in unraveling how LPA regulates numerous
biological processes, including cell migration and proliferation.
Our current work focuses on the LPA-producing enzyme autotaxin,
specifically its mechanism of action and role in tumor progression.
Our ultimate goal is to translate new findings on autotaxin-LPA
signaling into more effective anticancer strategies.
René Medema became director of the NKI in 2012, and brought an
established research group to the institute. He has extensive
experience studying the mechanisms underlying cell division,
particularly the molecular checkpoints that control progression of
the cell cycle. Many classic anti-cancer drugs kill cells by
targeting the cell cycle, for example by damaging DNA or by
perturbing assembly of the mitotic spindle, which is required for
cell division. René's group aims to gain a clearer understanding of
the cellular responses to these drugs in order to better predict
drug responses and experimentally test new and potentially more
effective anti-cancer strategies.
Human chromosomes are centimetres in length, but are organized
such that they fit into a cell of micrometre-scale dimensions.
Within this confined setting, chromosomes allow for tightly
controlled cellular processes such as mitosis and transcription.
These processes are to an important degree made possible by two
conserved protein complexes known as cohesin and condensin. Both
cohesin and condensin are so-called SMC complexes that by
entrapping DNA inside their ring-shaped lumens can structure
chromosomes. Our research centres on the mode of action of these
vital protein complexes.