“It takes (more than) two to tango. In the title of my thesis, I draw a parallel between Latin dance, my hobby, and the complex process of gene expression. Similarly to tango dancing, which requires an orchestra for the music in addition to the dancers, gene expression also requires a combination of factors. In my PhD research I focused on two hormone receptors: the estrogen receptor involved in breast cancer, and the glucocorticoid receptor involved in childhood leukemia and other conditions. One thing that makes the latter receptor so special is its fascinating dual nature. Sometimes it suppresses the tumor, other times it boosts it, making it both a bad guy and a good guy. I figured out which regulators cooperate with this receptor – the ones that could be considered their partners in crime. I also showed that their absence alters the function of the receptor and thus affects tumor growth. It would be great if we could translate these findings directly into our clinical applications, but unfortunately we aren’t quite there yet. My personal inspiration behind choosing this socially beneficial profession has been my grandmother, who passed away from breast cancer."
Isabel will defend her thesis on July 4.
This research was financially supported by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and KWF Dutch Cancer Society.
prof. dr. W.T. Zwart
dr. S. Prekovic