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Oncogenomics

Divisions

Groups within research area Oncogenomics

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Reuven Agami

Division
Oncogenomics
Specialisation
Controlling cancer by RNA

Introduction

The goal of Reuven Agami's research is to generate a better understanding of the molecular processes leading to human cancer. His strategy is to identify essential cancer genes and pathways, and he is particularly interested in the role of RNA. RNA is a versatile molecule and the human genome expresses many different types. Interestingly, only a small fraction of these encodes for proteins, while most regulate protein production and therefore control cell behavior. His group develops and utilizes novel RNA tools to alter gene expression and thereby influence cancer cell fate. They hope to generate knowledge that can be used to develop more effective therapeutic strategies for treating cancer.

More about the Reuven Agami group

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Jacqueline Jacobs

Division
Oncogenomics
Specialisation
Telomere Damage and Cancer

Introduction

Jacqueline Jacobs began her research group at the NKI in 2008, and investigates the mechanisms that preserve cell viability and protect against cancer development. Cells with unstable genomes are at high risk of becoming cancerous, and her group is particularly interested in the detection and repair of DNA lesions, which maintain genome integrity. These mechanisms are prevented from operating at natural chromosome ends by unique nucleoprotein structures, called telomeres.

However, telomeres shorten with every cell division, eventually compromising telomere protection and leading to cell death, senescence or genomic instability, which have important consequences for aging and the development of cancer.

More about the Jacqueline Jacobs group

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Wilbert Zwart

Division
Oncogenomics
Specialisation
Hormone-Associated Cancers

Introduction

Wilbert Zwart joined the NKI as a junior group leader in 2011. He is interested in the biology underlying breast cancer, endometrial cancer and prostate cancer, and how this links with patient response to treatment in the clinic. These three cancer types share one major characteristic: tumor induction and/or tumor cell proliferation is dependent on hormonal regulation. Drug treatment is often directed at inhibiting hormonal action, but resistance is common. Therefore, an understanding of the molecular wiring of hormonal regulation in these tumor types essential, both under drug sensitive as well as resistant conditions. His group combines cell biology, genomics, endocrinology and molecular pathology, which are directly correlated with clinical analyses, to determine which patients would benefit the most from a specific treatment.

More about the Wilbert Zwart group

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Piet Borst

Division
Oncogenomics
Specialisation
Transporters, DNA base J

Introduction

With his senior post-doc Koen van de Wetering, Borst is trying to identify the natural substrates of a class of drug transporters, called Multidrug Resistance-associated Proteins (MRPS or ABCCs). A recent focus has been on MRP5 and MRP6. The main approach is to compare body fluids of WT and KO mice by LC/MS and verify by vesicular transport whether the compounds altered in the KO are transported by the missing MRP. The function of MRP5 (ABCC5) was long unknown, but we recently found that it transports neurotransmitter - like compounds and an entirely new class of compounds not known in mammals before. The absence of MRP6 (ABCC6) causes an inborn error, PXE, and identification of the natural substrate of MRP6 may allow substitution therapy of PXE. Up to 2013 Borst also worked on mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer cells and on biosynthesis and function of base J, a new base in the DNA of parasites discovered in the Borst lab.

The resistance project is continued by Sven Rottenberg in the NKI; the base J project is continued by Peter Myler (Seattle, US). Borst remains an adviser in both projects.

More about the Piet Borst group

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André Bergman

Division
Oncogenomics
Specialisation
Prostate Cancer Development

Introduction

Andre Bergman divides his time between treating cancer patients at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital, and working in the laboratory at the adjacent NKI, where he researches the mechanisms underlying prostate cancer development. Prostate cancer is the most prevalent malignant disease in men. It develops through distinct stages, and there is emerging evidence that the tumor microenvironment plays an important role in driving progression through the different stages. The Bergman group investigates the contribution of the microenvironment in prostate cancer development using both cancer models in the laboratory, as well as human prostate cancer. Their goal is to identify new mechanisms and targets that could be used to develop more effective therapeutic approaches.

More about the André Bergman group

William Faller

William Faller

Division
Oncogenomics
Specialisation
RNA Translation and Cancer

Introduction

William studied for his BSc at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and graduated in 2003. He followed this with a PhD under the supervision of Prof. William Gallagher at the UCD Conway Institute in Dublin, where his project involved the study of DNA methylation in melanoma cells. He continued his focus on cancer in his Post Doctoral studies with Prof. Owen Sansom at the CRUK Beatson Institute in Glasgow. During this time he began to work with mouse models of colorectal cancer, primarily focusing on mTOR signaling. In 2016 he became a Junior Group Leader at the NKI

He runs a science blog that can be found at https://biologicallyactive.co.uk/.

More about the William Faller group

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