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Cell Biology: René Medema

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René Medema, Ph.D. professorDirector of Research, Group Leader, professor

About René Medema

Cell Division and Cancer

Cell Cycle Checkpoints
Our group is interested in the molecular mechanisms of cell division. One major focus is to understand how cells recover from a DNA damaging insult, such as those caused by some anti-cancer drugs, which activates a checkpoint and triggers cell cycle arrest. Specifically, we are working on unravelling the mechanism that promotes cell cycle re-entry once the checkpoint is switched off and how this is coordinated with DNA damage repair. We have established a number of assays involving FRET-based biosensors and fluorescent markers to monitor the appearance and repair of double-stranded DNA breaks, as well as inactivation and reactivation of the cell cycle machinery, in a single living cell. Using these assays we have identified several protein kinases and phosphatases that control recovery and are studying how they coordinate this with ongoing DNA repair.
 
Chromosome Segregation
We are also focusing on the mechanisms underlying bipolar spindle assembly, which is required to segregate chromosomes during cell division, particularly to understand how the correct balance of forces is established. For this we monitor spindle assembly and chromosome segregation in living cells. We have uncovered several novel roles for motor proteins and are working towards a global picture of motor-dependent control of spindle assembly. A secondary aim is to exploit chromosome segregation errors as a means to selectively target the fitness of cancer cells. We have discovered that lagging chromosomes in cancer cells can break during telophase and cytokinesis, which can lead to chromosome translocations in the next cell cycle. We are also working on characterizing how chromosome cohesion is established after DNA replication, and how it is subsequently removed to allow for chromosome segregation and cell division.

Co-workers

van den Berg, Jeroen

Jeroen van den Berg

PhD Student

Experience

In 2014 I started my PhD in the lab of René Medema, where I work on the relationship between DNA damage induced cell-fate decisions and genomic location of the DNA lesion.

Before the start of my PhD, I finished the Masters Program ' Cancer, Genomics and Developmental Biology' at Utrecht University. During the program, I performed two internships; the first in the lab of René Medema regarding G2 recovery competence in untransformed cells, the second internship was at Columbia University in New York City in the lab of Julie Canman involving cytokinesis in the earlyCaenorhabditis elegansembryo.

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Marianne Diepeveen

Personal Assistant

Experience

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Femke Feringa

Ph.D. student

Experience

In 2011 I started my PhD in the lab of Rene Medema, where I work on cell fate decisions after DNA damage. Using ionizing irradiation I study the interplay between DNA damage repair, checkpoint activity and cell cycle progression in untransformed human cells.

Before my start at the NKI I finished a master in Medical & Pharmaceutical Drug Innovation at the University of Groningen. This program included two internships on cell biology research, which I performed in the lab of Gerald de Haan at the University Medical Center, Groningen and in the lab of Richard Gregory at Children's Hospital, Boston.

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Ana Rita Maia

Postdoctoral fellow

Experience

I did my graduate studies in Porto University, Portugal. I joined the lab as a post-doc in January of 2012 and I am focused in exploring the inhibition of the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint (SAC) as a tool to specifically target chromosomal instability in cancer cells, without compromising normal stable cells. For that we are testing specific SAC inhibitors in cell lines and in tumor bearing mouse models.

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Jonne Raaijmakers

Postdoctoral fellow

Experience

I studied Biomedical Science at the RU (Radboud University Nijmegen). In 2008, I started my PhD in the Medema lab.

I am interested in chromosome segregation and more specifically in how motor proteins and microtubule binding proteins cooperate in the formation and function of the mitotic spindle.

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Mar Soto Ruiz de la Torre

Ph.D. Student

Experience

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Babet van der Vaart

Babet van der Vaart

Postdoctoral fellow

Experience

I am interested in the microtubule cytoskeleton and especially in the role of plus-end tracking proteins on the regulation of microtubule dynamics. During my PhD in the lab of Prof. dr. Anna Akhmanova (Erasmus MC, Rotterdam) one of my projects involved the characterization of SLAIN2, a novel mammalian plus-end tracking protein. For my first postdoc funded by an EMBO-fellowship I joined the lab of Dr. Stefan Westermann (IMP, Vienna) where I used budding yeast to identify novel microtubule growth regulators. I will continue this line of research in the lab of Prof. Dr. René Medema on a VENI-grant.

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Janssen, Louise

Louise Janssen

PhD Student

Experience

In 2016 I started my PhD in the lab of René Medema, where I investigate the vulnerabilities of chromosomal instable cells. Normally, cells are not able to cope with chromosomal instability (CIN). However, cancer cells can tolerate CIN and many cancers display chromosome missegregations. During my PhD, I will characterize and exploit pathways needed for the survival of CIN cells.

Before starting my PhD I completed the Master Biomedical Sciences at the University of Leiden, during which I performed an internship at the lab of René Medema regarding defects in the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint. 

 

 

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Gonzalez Manjon, Anna

Anna González Manjón

PhD Student

Experience

I studied Human Biology at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. I did my master on Pharmaceutical Industry and Biotechnology. In 2016, I joined the Medema lab to do my Master internship and afterwards I started my PhD.

I am interested in studying the epigenetic landmarks of the chromatin in DNA damaged regions and how these influence the control of gene transcription.

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Apostolos Menegakis

Postdoctoral fellow

Experience

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Rob Klompmaker

Lab manager

Experience

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Research updates View All Updates

  • Student positions Medema lab

    If you are interested in performing a research internship (>6 months) in our lab, please ask j.raaijmakers@nki.nl for current vacancies including your motivation and CV.

Key publications View All Publications

  • Comparative phosphoproteomic analysis of checkpoint recovery identifies new regulators of the DNA damage response

    Sci Signal. 2013 Apr 23;6(272):rs9

    Halim VA, Alvarez-Fernández M, Xu YJ, Aprelia M, van den Toorn HW, Heck AJ, Mohammed S, Medema RH

    link to PubMed
  • Chromosome segregation errors as a cause of DNA damage and structural chromosome aberrations

    Science. 2011; 333: 1895-8

    Janssen A, van der Burg M, Szuhai K, Kops GJ, Medema RH.

    Link to PubMed
 
 

Recent publications View All Publications

  • Hypersensitivity to DNA damage in antephase as a safeguard for genome stability

    Nat Commun. 2016 Aug 26;7:12618. doi: 10.1038

    Feringa FM, Krenning L, Koch A, van den Berg J, van den Broek B, Jalink K, Medema RM.

    Link to Pubmed
  • Chromosome misalignments induce spindle positioning defects

    EMBO Rep. 2016 Mar;17(3):317-25

    Tame MA, Raaijmakers JA, Afanasyev P, Medema RH

    Link to Pubmed
 

Contact

  • Office manager

    Mariet van den Berg

  • E-mail

    ma.vd.berg@nki.nl

  • Telephone Number

    +31 20 512 9184

Van den Berg, Mariet

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