"I had just started university when my best friend was diagnosed with cancer. She was eighteen years old. That gave me the drive to want to understand cancer even better. I decided to get involved in very fundamental research during my internship. I was part of the research group of René Medema, who would later become my promotor. I could watch cells divide in real-time under my microscope, and I even saw the individual chromosomes move. That was really cool, but it was even more fascinating once cell division went wrong. I wanted to continue working with that. During my PhD research, I investigated the things that could go wrong during cell division. Not only do cancer cells divide more often, but they also make more mistakes during division than normal cells. We wondered whether this faulty division could also be their weak spot. If we added even more errors, by switching off certain genes, for example, they might die. And we did end up finding important genes, but unfortunately, we haven’t come across a general weak spot. This process will remain an exciting puzzle for a little longer. Speaking of exciting: I want to travel for a few months after my thesis defense. All around the world."
Louise will defend her thesis on July 14.
This research was financially supported by the Dutch Cancer Society and Oncode Institute.
prof. dr. R.H. Medema
dr. J.A. Raaijmakers