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DNA repair in chromatin: the cancer connection

Thursday 31 October 2019
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden

Haico van Attikum is full professor of Chromatin and DNA repair at the Department of Human Genetics (LUMC). He received his PhD in Molecular Genetics (Leiden, 2003, Paul Hooykaas). He became a postdoc at the University of Geneva in 2003 and accompanied the group when it moved to the Friedrich Messer Institute in Basel in 2004. In 2007 he was appointed as junior  group leader at the Department of Toxicogenetics (LUMC).

His group employs a cross-disciplinary systems biology-based approach that encompasses genetics, proteomics, microscopy and bioinformatics in yeast, mouse and human-patient cells to identify the proteins that constitute DNA damage response (DDR) pathways, and study their impact on genomic stability maintenance and human disease.

For his work he receives funding from NWO-VIDI, TOP-GO, Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP-CDA), KWF, the European Union (Horizon 2020) and the Europe Research Council (EC-Consolidator).

He was awarded the Young Scientist Award 2009 by the European Environmental Mutagens Society (EEMS) and the C.J. Kok price by the LUMC (2012). In 2017 he was appointed president of the Netherlands Society for Radiobiology (NVRB)


Our cells receive tens of thousands of different DNA lesions per day. Failure to repair these lesions will lead to cell death, mutations and genome instability, which contribute to human diseases such as cancer. Efficient recognition and repair of DNA damage, however, is complicated by the fact that genomic DNA is packaged, through histone and non-histone proteins, into a condensed structure called chromatin. The DNA repair machinery has to circumvent this barrier to gain access to the damaged DNA and repair the lesions. By using a cross-disciplinary approach that combines cutting-edge genomics approaches with bioinformatics, genetics, biochemistry and high-resolution microscopy, we have begun to elucidate how DNA repair is orchestrated in chromatin. In my lecture I will provide an overview of the current status of our work and highlight some recent advances with regard to cancer therapy and cancer risk assessment.


Please keep the following dates free in your diary (all Thursdays at 16h.):
November 28 2019, Uwe Grether (Basel, Hoffmann-La Roche)
January 30 2020, Jonathan Bard (Oxford, Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics)

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