"If you were to completely uncoil our DNA, it would stretch out to a strand that’s more than two meters long. Yet somehow it fits into every single cell. That’s because the DNA within these cells is intricately folded up: the DNA fragments are pulled through a ring, forming loops. But how do cells accomplish this? That's what my research was focused on. This ring, known as the cohesin complex, can be compared to a machine with various components, each serving its own function. What happens when you remove one of these components? I investigated this kind of concept on a microscopic level within the cells. In the lab I looked for distinctions, explored what happened when I deactivated a specific protein to find out whether it played a crucial role in the folding process. It's amazing to consider that I may have been the first person in the world to observe these distinctions. What's also quite amazing is that I got to participate in the Alpe d'HuZes together with a few of my colleagues. We cycled up the mountain together and raised money for a good cause. In that same month, my first article was published in a scientific journal. And guess what was on the cover: a picture of the brake on my racing bike."
Marjon will defend her thesis on October 3.
This research was financially supported by Boehringer Ingelheim, KWF Dutch Cancer Society, and the European Research Council.
prof. dr. R.H. Medema & prof. dr. B.D. Rowland