Fred van Leeuwen
Group leader+31 20 512 1973 firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred van Leeuwen has a longstanding interest in how non-genetic changes can have long-term consequences for cellular function. He has worked in different fields of epigenetics; starting by investigating an unusual DNA modification in trypanosomes as a graduate student, and currently using yeast as a powerful model system and mouse cancer models to discover new mechanisms of epigenetic regulation. His lab currently focuses on key issues in epigenetics and teams up with international collaborators to tackle these problems.
Fred van Leeuwen began his scientific career at the NKI working on the unusual DNA base J in African trypanosomes. He developed an interest in epigenetics - the process by which genes are stably switched on or off. He trained as a post doc in the lab of Dan Gottschling at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle (USA) to study epigenetic mechanisms in budding yeast where he discovered a novel histone methyltransferase and developed tools to study histone dynamics. This work was supported by fellowships of the Dutch Cancer Society, EMBO, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
In 2003 he returned to the Netherlands as an AVL Fellow to establish his own research group and received a VIDI career development grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). In 2005 his group joined the EU Epigenome Network of Excellence as a Newly Established Team and in 2011 they were elected as associate member of the European EpiGeneSys Network of Excellence.
Fred van Leeuwen obtained tenure in 2010 and became a senior staff member in 2019.
At the NKI he is dean of postdoctoral affairs and works with human resources, AVL Academy, and the postdoc committee to offer a broad NKI postdoctoral training program. To promote their research in broader terms he is chair of the Research Community Chemistry of Life at the NWO Domain Science (ENW) and he is a member of the board of the Dutch Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (NVBMB).
The Van Leeuwen lab studies mechanisms and principles of epigenetic regulation, using innovative proteomic, genetic, and (epi)genomics approaches. They take advantage of yeast as a powerful model system and in parallel they are developing tools in human cells to translate their findings to mammals. They use mouse models to unravel the role of chromatin-based mechanisms in T- and B-cell development and cancer.
In 2013, their fundamental work on epigenetic mechanisms in budding yeast was recognized with a VICI grant from NWO; in 2018 they received a TOP grant from ZonMW to further translate the discoveries in yeast to mouse and human models of T cell differentiation. In 2019 Fred van Leeuwen was appointed as endowed professor at the University of Amsterdam, where the chair on Cellular Epigenetics is embedded in the Department of Medical Biology at the University Medical Center Amsterdam, location AMC.