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News

09Dec 2016

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On Tuesday, December 13, Ahmed Elbatsh will defend his thesis

On Tuesday, December 13, Ahmed Elbatsh will defend his thesis, entitled 'Set it free: DNA release from SMC complexes'. His promotor is René Medema and his copromotor Benjamin Rowland. The public defense will take place at 14:30, in the Academy Building of the University of Utrecht, Domplein 29, Utrecht.

The ability of living cells to manipulate their long DNA strands (approximately 4 meters long in human diploid cells) to carry out diverse and complicated tasks is a fascinating concept. SMC (Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes) proteins play a central role in shaping the DNA to make it compatible with all these daunting cellular processes. Ahmed's thesis focuses on the mechanisms through which SMC complexes control chromosomes to allow living cells to carry out their tasks with such an ultimate precision.

Elbatsh' interest centers around two members of the SMC family, cohesin and condensin. These two ring-shaped complexes in essence act as topological devices that execute their functions by entrapping DNA inside their lumen. His main research goal was to unravel how these complexes entrap and release DNA.

In his thesis, Elbatsh provides key insights into the molecular details through which cohesin and condensin control chromosomes. He pinpointed the importance of the tight control of DNA entrapment and release by these complexes in order to preserve the genomic integrity of dividing cells. The emerging understanding from his thesis provides a valuable basis for future work.



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