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07Jun 2019

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Doctorate Tessy Korthout - A new technique for epigenetics research

Doctorate Tessy Korthout

A caterpillar and a butterfly have exactly the same DNA while they look really different. That is the work of proteins that determine how the DNA is 'read'. But how do all these proteins work together? Tessy Korthout developed a technique that allows researchers to analyze the function of thousands of proteins at the same time and thus better understand how they read the DNA together. Tessy, who is now a postdoc at the Hubrecht Institute, will defend her PhD thesis at the University of Amsterdam on June 12. Good luck Tessy!


What subject did you research?

"The development of new techniques to investigate how genes are regulated."

What is the big issue that it constitutes a part of?

"Every cell has the same DNA while cells are very different, for example, a caterpillar and a butterfly have exactly the same DNA, but look completely different. This is regulated by epigenetics, the mechanism that determines which part of the DNA must be read. We already know a lot about epigenetics and which proteins are involved, but we are only now beginning to understand how all these proteins work together to regulate genes. How epigenetic information is transmitted when the cell divides remains a mystery. I tried to solve this mystery in my research."

What was your most important contribution to the solution?

"The correct reading of the correct parts of the DNA is a complex process. Many proteins are involved, but with the current techniques in molecular biology, it is difficult to study multiple proteins at the same time. To solve this, we developed a technique that uses small pieces of synthetic DNA to mark cells. This allowed us to analyze the function of thousands of proteins at the same time so that we now better understand how these proteins work together to read DNA. This technique is also very useful in the field for answering many more questions about DNA regulation."

Who?                         Tessy Korthout
With whom?               Fred van Leeuwen (co-supervisor)/ Maarten van Lohuizen (supervisor)
When?                       Wednesday, June 12, 12:00
Where?                      University of Amsterdam
Thesis:                       Decrypting Chromatin States: DNA Barcoding Technologies to Study Chromatin Interactions

  • Listen to Tessy Korthout's podcast'Superyeast: brewing beer and understanding epigenetics'.
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