The genes in our body need to be switched on in the right place and at the right time. Many of these genes are activated by pieces of DNA that are located nowhere near the gene in the genome.
The folding of DNA plays a crucial role in the proper regulation of these genes and the development of mutations that could cause cancer. "We will investigate which factors are important for this," says De Wit, who leads the research group Genome Dynamics and Function. "This will help us better understand how genes are regulated during embryonic development. We see mutations in these factors in specific cancer types. This will help us understand the underlying mechanism behind the development of cancer."
Vici, worth 1.5 million euros, is one of the largest scientific grants for individuals in the Netherlands and targets highly experienced researchers who have successfully demonstrated the ability to develop their own innovative lines of research, and to act as coaches for young researchers.