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Molecular Genetics

Our central research theme is the mechanism and biological relevance of the DNA damage response. We have a long history and a strong world-wide reputation in this field of research


Our research, mission and vision

Background information

The department Molecular Genetics is headed by Roland Kanaar and focuses on how the integrity of DNA is maintained by the DNA damage response, a process central to the present-day problems of cancer and aging-related diseases.


Our department has a long history and world-wide reputation in understanding mechanisms of the DNA damage response from defined molecular level to the complex context of physiological processes. Its fundamental studies of molecular mechanisms provide the basis for the rational design and development of novel targeted therapies and evidence-based sustainment of health.

Our ambitions

  • Address the fundamental molecular mechanistic aspects of the DNA damage response by pursuing complementary and interwoven approaches at molecular and cellular levels.
  • Provide a rational basis for improving existing approaches and developing novel and innovative precision therapies for cancer and aging-related diseases.
  • Bring to the clinic better criteria and tools for individual patient selection for precision therapy concerning cancer.
  • Develop reliable prognostic tools for treatment of cancer and aging-related diseases. Educate and train the next generation of multidisciplinary life scientists and healthcare professionals.

Roland Kanaar


Our mission

We generate new and fundamental mechanistic knowledge on the DNA damage response through multi-disciplinary research. As we collaborate with our colleagues in the clinic, we aim to design novel targeted therapies to increase the quality of life of cancer patients and to increase the healthy lifespan of an aging population.

Principal Investigators


Dik van Gent

DNA Repair Research for Optimized Tumor Treatment


Jan Hoeijmakers



Bert van Der Horst

Chronobiology and Health


Roland Kanaar

Homologous Recombination and DSB metabolism


Joyce Lebbink

DNA Mismatch Repair


Jurgen Marteijn

Transcription Stress and Genome Stability


Julie Nonnekens

Radiobiology of targeted radionuclide therapy


Miao-Ping Chien

Single Cell Technology for Cancer Biology


Arnab Ray Chaudhuri

DNA replication stress and genome instability


Wim Vermeulen 

Nucleotide Excision Repair


Nitika Taneja 

Chromatin Remodeling and Replication


Hannes Lans

DNA repair mechanisms and disease

  Alex Pines

Transcription interfering lesions and cellular homeostasis


Daan Brinks

Optogenetics and Imaging Methods


Ingrid van der Pluijm

Molecular Mechanisms of Cardiovascular Aging


Jeroen Essers

In vivo molecular imaging of Cancer and Cardiovascular disease

 Pier Mastroberardino

Pier Mastroberardino

Molecular pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases


Research Lines

The central research focus of the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam is the DNA damage response. We analyze this using an integrated approach from the molecular level to the physiological processes in the body, in the context of cancer, aging and aging-related diseases.

The four research lines underlying the central theme are:

  1. Molecular Mechanisms of the DNA Damage Response
  2. Cellular Function of the DNA Damage Response
  3. The DNA Damage Response in Cancer
  4. The DNA Damage Response in Aging

The Department of Molecular houses 18 Principal Investigators contributing to the four research lines. The listed distribution of Principal Investigators over the research lines is fluid, due to intradepartmental collaborations and the fact that projects often span different research lines.

Research Line 1 Molecular Mechanisms of the DNA Damage Response 

This research line addresses the fundamental molecular mechanistic aspects of the DNA damage response, with a focus on homologous recombination, interstrand cross-link repair and mismatch repair. The molecular mechanisms are studied by applying and developing (single molecule) biochemical and biophysical techniques and analyses, advanced proteomic analyses and state-of-the-art molecular imaging techniques to identify the dynamic molecular interactions that are responsible for the assembly and disassembly of the molecular factories that guard and repair the genome. 

More specifically, we:

  • Quantitatively describe BRCA2 protein dynamics (time, space, shape changes) using an ensemble of techniques including scanning force microscopy (SFM), total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF)-SFM, and force spectroscopy.
  • Understand the mode of action and function of internally-disordered regions in BRCA2 in the context of its interaction with RAD51.
  • Characterize and understand the function of novel components identified in the BRCA2 interactome.
  • Quantitatively describe the mismatch DNA repair pathway (recognition, communication along DNA, excision, repair synthesis) through the integration of results from biochemical and biophysical experiments and computer simulation.

BMW Moleculaire Genetica, Researchline 1
The ultimate goal is to define and dissect the molecular circuits of DNA damage repair and their integration in cellular processes (see Research Line 2, below). This knowledge is pivotal for identifying molecular targets for designing novel mechanism-based interventions and manipulations of these processes. This will provide the basis for improving existing approaches and developing entirely novel and innovative precision therapies for cancer and aging-related diseases.

More information can be found at:

Research Line 2 Cellular Function of the DNA Damage Response

At the cellular level, the DNA damage repair processes in (live) cells are monitored in real time to see how they detect DNA damage and proceed to assemble and disassemble the repair machinery. We apply the latest super-resolution techniques and single particle tracking analyses to understand the interplay between different DNA damage response pathways and their integration in the physiology of the cell.

More specifically, we:

  • Identify the causes and functional consequences of transcription inhibition due to DNA damage and of cellular responses to transcription stress. 
  • Dissect the functional interplay between DNA repair and chromatin remodeling in genome stability, cancer, chemo-resistance, and (therapy-induced) DNA replication stress.
  • Understand the mechanisms underlying replication fork protection and its role in the prevention of tumorigenesis.
  • Systemically and functionally characterize DNA damage responses towards chemotherapy with the (ultimate) aim to improve cancer treatment.
  • Understand tissue-specific DNA repair organization using in vitro and in vivo differentiation models (iPS cells) to move towards a full comprehension of the pathogenesis of DNA repair disorders.
  • Establish high quality standards of DNA repair assays and genotyping for the research-based diagnostics of DNA repair disorders.

BMW MG Researchline 2

More information can be found at:

Research Line 3 The DNA Damage Response in Cancer

Many important anti-cancer treatments are based on the cell-killing properties of DNA-damaging agents. The efficacy of such treatments depends on the characteristics of the DNA damage response in tumour cells. The DNA damage response is almost invariably compromised in tumours, and this can be exploited to develop better patient selection methods, guide targeted cancer treatments, and design novel precision cancer treatments. Based on extensive analysis of the DNA damage response in cell culture, the department has developed a clinic-to-lab pipeline for breast cancer patients. This allows testing, in a functional ex vivo assay, aspects of the DNA damage response in viable (organotypic) slices of tumour material from individual patients. 

More specifically, we:

  • Identify cellular pathways involved in the repair of DNA damage induced by different radiation qualities (α-radiation and β-radiation versus X-rays) and the biological effectiveness of the radiation.
  • Increase molecular targeted radionuclide therapy efficacy through a combination with DNA repair inhibitors.
  • Develop functional assays to predict the therapy response to personalized medicine in cancer patients.
  • Develop Cancer-on-Chip approaches to study therapy responses in real time.
  • Develop next-generation, high-throughput screening microscopy technology for single cell applications to investigate the genetic, proteomic and transcriptomic features of specially-selected (stem-like) cancer cells in a population.
More information can be found at:

Research Line 4 The DNA Damage Response in Aging

DNA damage does not just foster mutagenesis and thereby carcinogenesis, it also constitutes a major cause of cellular dysfunction, cell death and cellular senescence – all of which drive the aging process. As a result, many inborn disorders due to genetic deficiencies in DNA damage response pathways exhibit a strong cancer predisposition and/or premature aging symptoms. The department has invested in generating a comprehensive series of mouse mutants carrying engineered defects in specific repair genes, some of which precisely mimic the defect of DNA repair-deficient patients. These mouse mutants turn out to be extremely informative – they mimic the corresponding human syndromes and also enable detailed insight into the complex etiology of human repair syndromes. This strong connection between accumulating DNA damage and accelerated – but truly bona fide aging – was discovered as a trade-off between cancer and aging. Our collection of genetically-engineered progeroid mouse mutants, which is unique in the world, provides the department with an exclusive competitive advantage. We are now using them to develop intervention strategies for the diseases associated with aging-related symptoms.

More specifically, we:

  • Elucidate the role of DNA damage and the associated transcription stress in the aging process.
  • Identify how nutrition and anti-aging interventions control DNA damage load, DNA damage repair and signalling. 
  • Identify how DNA damage leads to age-related diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Elucidate how DNA damage impinges on disease mechanisms such as loss of proteostasis, senescence and stem cells.
  • Develop genomics tools and software to understand DNA damage accumulation and DNA repair in aging at nucleotide resolution and the single cell level.

More information can be found at:


Notable results

Breakthrough discoveries

  • First molecular cloning of a chromosome translocation break point in cancer, providing insight in the molecular basis of cancer and enabling development of the first cancer type specific drug (Imatanib/Gleevec)
  • Molecular cloning of the first mammalian DNA repair gene and discovery of the very strong evolutionary conservation of DNA repair
  • Discovery of the connection between transcription and DNA repair and identification of human transcription syndromes
  • Discovery of the role of mammalian photolyase paralogs in the circadian/biological clock
  • Discovery of the connection between the DNA damage response
  • Identification of nutritional interventions for the treatment of human DNA repair syndromes exhibiting accelerated aging
  • Discovery of the pathways of random DNA integration in mammalian genomes



Please visit Pure for all our Research output

Our key papers:

M. Tresini, D.O.  Warmerdam, P. Kolovos, L. Snijder, M.G. Vrouwe, J.A. Demmers, W.F. van IJcken, F.G. Grosveld, R.H. Medema, J.H. Hoeijmakers, L.H. Mullenders, W. Vermeulen and J.A. Marteijn.
The core spliceosome as target and effector of non-canonical ATM signaling.
Nature, 523: 53-58 (2015) 
doi: 10.1038/nature14512. PMID: 26106861

C. Dinant, G. Ampatziadis-Michailidis, H. Lans, M. Tresini, A.F. Theil, W.A. van Cappellen, H. Kimura, J. Bartek, M. Fousteri, A.B. Houtsmuller, W. Vermeulen and Marteijn, J.A.
Enhanced chromatin dynamics by FACT promotes transcriptional restart after DNA damage.
Molecular Cell 51: 469-79 (2013).
doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2013.08.007. PMID: 23973375

P. Schwertman, A. Lagarou, D.H. Dekkers, J. Raams, A.C. van der Hoek, C. Laffeber, J.H.  Hoeijmakers, J.A. Demmers, M. Fousteri, W. Vermeulen and J.A. Marteijn.
UV-sensitive syndrome protein KIAA1530 recruits USP7 to regulate transcription coupled repair.
Nature Genetics 44: 598-602 (2012).
doi: 10.1038/ng.2230. PMID: 22466611

P.M. Krawczyk, B. Eppink, J. Essers, J. Stap, H. Rodermond, H. Odijk, A. Zelensky, C. van Bree, L.J. Stalpers, M.R. Buist, T. Soullié, J. Rens, H.J. Verhagen, M.J. O'Connor, N.A. Franken, T.L. ten Hagen, R. Kanaar and J.A. Aten.
Mild hyperthermia inhibits homologous recombination, induces BRCA2 degradation, and sensitizes cancer cells to poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 inhibition.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, 9851-9856 (2011).
doi: 10.1073/pnas.1101053108. PMID: 21555554

M. Modesti, M. Budzowska, C. Baldeyron, J.A. Demmers, R. Ghirlando and R. Kanaar.  RAD51AP1 is a structure-specific DNA binding protein that stimulates joint molecule formation during RAD51-mediated homologous recombination. 
Molecular Cell 28, 468-481 (2007).
PMID: 17996710

K. Hanada, M. Budzowska, S.L. Davies, E. van Drunen, B.H. Beverloo, A. Maas, J. Essers, I.D. Hickson and R. Kanaar.
The structure-specific endonuclease Mus81-Eme1 contributes to replication restart by generating double-strand DNA breaks.
Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 14, 1096-1104 (2007).
PMID: 17934473

L.J. Niedernhofer, G.A. Garinis, A. Raams, S.A. Lalai, R.A. Robinson, E. Appeldoorn, H. Odijk, R. Oostendorp, A. Ahmad, W. van Leeuwen, A. Theil, W. Vermeulen, G.T. van der Horst, P. Meinecke, W. Kleijer, J. Vijg, N.G.J. Jaspers, J.H.J. Hoeijmakers.
A new progeriod syndrome reveals that genotoxic stress suppresses the somatotroph axis.
Nature 444: 1038-1043 (2006).
PMID: 17183314

Giglia-Mari, G., Coin, F., Ranish, J.A., Hoogstraten, D., Theil, A., Wijgers, N., Jaspers, N.G., Raams, A., Argentini, M., van der Spek, P.J., Botta, E., Stefanini, M., Egly, J.M., Aebersold, R., Hoeijmakers, J.H., and Vermeulen, W.
A new, tenth subunit of TFIIH is responsible for the DNA repair syndrome trichothiodystrophy group A.
Nature Genetics 36: 714-719 (2004).
PMID: 15220921

J.A. Aten, J. Stap, P.M. Krawczyk, C.H. van Oven, R.A. Hoebe, J. Essers and R. Kanaar.
Dynamics of DNA double-strand breaks revealed by clustering of damaged chromosome domains. 
Science 303, 92-95 (2004).
PMID: 14704429

Hoogstraten, D., Nigg, A.L., Heath, H., Mullenders, L.H., van Driel, R., Hoeijmakers, J.H., Vermeulen, W. and Houtsmuller, A.B.
Rapid switching of TFIIH between RNA polymerase I and II transcription and DNA repair in vivo.
Molecular Cell 10: 1163-1174 (2002)
PMID: 12453423

J. de Boer, J.O. Andressoo, J. de Wit, J. Huijmans, R.B. Beems, H. van Steeg, G. Weeda, G.T.J. van der Horst, W. van Leeuwen, A.P.N. Themmen, M. Meradji and J.H.J. Hoeijmakers.
Premature aging in mice deficient in DNA repair and transcription.
Science (research article), 296: 1276-1279 (2002).
PMID: 11950998

W. Vermeulen, S. Rademakers, N.G.J. Jaspers, E. Appeldoorn, A. Raams, B. Klein, W. Kleijer, L. Kjærsgård and J.H.J. Hoeijmakers.
A temperature-sensitive disorder in basal transcription and DNA repair in man.
Nature Genetics 27: 299-303 (2001).
PMID: 11242112

M. de Jager, J. van Noort, D.C. van Gent, C. Dekker, R. Kanaar and C. Wyman.
Human Rad50/Mre11 is a flexible complex that can tether DNA ends.
Molecular Cell 8: 1129-1135 (2001).
PMID: 11741547

Vermeulen, W., Bergmann, E., Auriol, J., Rademakers, S., Frit, P., Appeldoorn, E., Hoeijmakers, J.H., and Egly, J.M.
Sublimiting concentration of TFIIH transcription/DNA repair factor causes TTD-A trichothiodystrophy disorder.
Nature Genetics 26: 307-313 (2000).
PMID: 11062469

A.B. Houtsmuller, S. Rademakers, A.L. Nigg, D. Hoogstraten, J.H.J. Hoeijmakers, W. Vermeulen.
Action of DNA repair endonuclease ERCC1/XPF in living cells.
Science 284: 958-961 (1999).
PMID: 10320375

H. Okamura, S. Miyake, Y. Sumi, S. Yamaguchi, A. Yasui, M. Muijtjens, J.H.J. Hoeijmakers and G.T.J. van der Horst.
Photic induction of mPer1 and mPer2 in Cry-deficient mice lacking a biological clock.
Science 286: 2531-2534 (1999).
PMID: 10617474

G.T.J. van der Horst, M. Muijtjens, K. Kobayashi, R. Takano, S-I. Kanno, M. Takao, J. de Wit, A. Verkerk, A.P.M. Eker, D. van Leenen, R. Buijs, D. Bootsma, J.H.J. Hoeijmakers, A. Yasui.
Mammalian blue-light receptor homologs CRY1 and CRY2 are essential for maintenance of the biological clock.
Nature 398: 627-630 (1999).
PMID: 10217146

K. Sugasawa, J.M.Y. Ng, C. Masutani, P.J. van der Spek, A.P.M. Eker, F. Hanaoka, D. Bootsma and J.H.J. Hoeijmakers.
Xeroderma pigmentosum group C complex is the initiator of global genome repair.
Molecular Cell 2: 223-232 (1998).
PMID: 9734359

G.T.J. van der Horst, H. van Steeg, R.J.W. Berg, A.J. van Gool, J. de Wit, G. Weeda, H. Morreau, R.B. Beems, C.F. van Kreijl, F.R. de Gruijl, D. Bootsma and J.H.J. Hoeijmakers.
Defective transcription-coupled repair in Cockayne syndrome B mice is associated with skin cancer predisposition.
Cell 89: 425-435 (1997).
PMID: 9150142

J. Essers, R.W. Hendriks, S.M.A. Swagemakers, C. Troelstra, J. de Wit, D. Bootsma, J.H.J. Hoeijmakers and R. Kanaar.
Disruption of mouse RAD54 reduces ionizing radiation resistance and homologous recombination. 
Cell 89: 195-204 (1997).
PMID: 9108475

H. Roest, J. van Klaveren, J. de Wit, C.G. van Gurp, M.H.M. Koken, M. Vermey, J.H. van Roijen, J.T.M. Vreeburg, W.M. Baarends, D. Bootsma, J.A. Grootegoed and J.H.J. Hoeijmakers.
Inactivation of a ubiquitin-conjugating DNA repair enzyme in mice causes a defect in spermatogenesis associated with chromatin modification.
Cell 86: 799-810 (1996).
PMID: 8797826 

Schaeffer, L., Roy, R., Humbert, S., Moncollin, V., Vermeulen, W., Hoeijmakers, J.H., Chambon, P. and Egly, J.M. (1993).
DNA repair helicase: a component of BTF2 (TFIIH) basic transcription factor.
Science 260: 58-63 (1993).
PMID: 8465201

Troelstra, A. van Gool, J. de Wit, W. Vermeulen, D. Bootsma and J.H.J. Hoeijmakers.
ERCC6, a member of a subfamily of putative helicases is involved in Cockayne's syndrome and preferential repair of active genes.
Cell 71: 939-953 (1992).
PMID: 1339317

G. Weeda, R.C.A. van Ham, W. Vermeulen, D. Bootsma, A.J. van der Eb and J.H.J. Hoeijmakers.
A presumed DNA helicase, encoded by the excision repair gene ERCC-3 is involved in the human repair disorders xeroderma pigmentosum and Cockayne's syndrome.
Cell 62: 777-791 (1990).
PMID: 2167179

M. van Duin, J. de Wit, H. Odijk, A. Westerveld, A. Yasui, M. Koken, J.H.J. Hoeijmakers and D. Bootsma.
Molecular characterization of the human excision repair gene ERCC-1: cDNA cloning and aminoacid homology with the yeast DNA repair gene RAD10.
Cell 44: 913-923 (1986).
PMID: 2420469

Westerveld, J.H.J. Hoeijmakers, M. van Duin, J. de Wit, H. Odijk, A. Pastink, R.D. Wood and D. Bootsma.
Molecular cloning of a human repair gene.
Nature 310: 425-429 (1985).
PMID: 6462228

Publications Molecular Genetics

Shared facilities

 Research facilities

The department makes use of the following Erasmus MC core facilities:

  • Applied Molecular Imaging Erasmus MC (AMIE): AMIE offers multimodal and high resolution in vivo imaging of small animals and tissue. We analyze genetically-engineered mouse models in cancer and aging research.
  • Erasmus Center for Animal Research: We generate and house mouse strains.
  • Erasmus Optical Imaging Center: An expert center for advanced optical imaging knowledge and equipment. We conduct cell biological analyses of the DNA damage response. 
  • ERGO: A prospective cohort study on the risk factors and determinants of chronic diseases in middle-aged and elderly persons. We identify circadian disturbance-related epigenetic risk markers for aging related pathologies.
  • Generation R: A population-based prospective cohort study from fetal life until adulthood. We identify pre- and early postnatal circadian disturbance-related epigenetic risk markers for later life disease.
  • Genomics: Expertise Center for Genomics Research. We conduct sequence-based experiments on the effect of the DNA damage response in cancer and aging at Erasmus Center for Biomics and and HuGe-F.
  • iPS facility: We conduct the derivation and distribution of iPSCs for human disease modelling. We derive iPS cells from patients with a DNA damage response defect. We also use it as a user facility location and to conduct onsite training. 
  • Erasmus MC Proteomics Center: Mass spectrometry-based proteomics services for the Erasmus MC community and external researchers. We conduct biochemical analyses of protein complexes involved in the DNA damage response.


News, events and awards

Events OMG Seminar Series

Heading Online Molecular Genetics Seminar Series

Upcoming Webinars 2024


 Karlene Cimprich

April 24

Karlene Cimprich, Stanford University, School of Medicine, USA

The causes and consequence of replication stress

Live at Ee 822 and hybrid

register here



The talks begin at 4 pm CEST, 3 pm GMT, 10 am EST, 7 am PST

The webinars are free of charge

For more information contact us!


Past Speakers


December 12, 2023

Karolin Luger, University of Colorado, Dept. of Biochemistry, USA

Still surprising after all these years: histones and their post-translational modifications

Register here

 Andre Nussenzweig October 11, 2023

Andre Nussenzweig, National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research, USA

DNA damage in mitotic and post-mitotic cells

 Steve Jackson

October 4, 2023

Steve Jackson, Cancer Research UK, University of Cambridge, UK

Cellular responses to DNA damage – mechanistic insights and implications for cancer therapy

 OMG Lecture by Marcel van Vugt

June 15, 2023

Marcel van Vugt, Cancer Research Center, Groningen University, UMCG, NL

Dealing with DNA damage during mitosis

Live at EE 822 and hybrid


June 5, 2023

Bennet van Houten, University of Pittsburgh, Dept. Of Pharmacology &   Chemical Biology, USA


Watching the confluence of base and nucleotide excision repair: from cells to single molecules


Live at EE 822 and hybrid


 Karlene Cimprich Lecture has been rescheduled to April 2024

May 25

Karlene Cimprich, Stanford University, School of Medicine, USA

The causes and consequence of replication stress

Live at Ee 822 and hybrid

Orlando Scharer 

April 12, 2023

Orlando Scharer, UNIS, IBS Center for Genomic Integrity, Korea

Understanding and targeting nucleotide excision repair

Live at EE 822 and hybrid

 Wolf Dietrich Heyer

November 17, 2022

Wolf Dietrich Heyer, University of California, Davis, USA

RAD52 and BRCA2 regulate pathway choice in double-stranded DNA break repair

 Robert Sobol

October 4, 2022

Robert Sobol, University of South Alabama, USA

Replication associated base excision repair

Molecular Genetics OMG Seminar series Dipanjan Chowdhury  

September 13, 2022

Dipanjan Chowdhury, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, USA

Expanding the scope of DNA repair factors- novel roles and applications

 Molecular Genetics Wei Yang OMG seminar series

July 12, 2022

Wei Yang, NIH, USA

The ins-and-outs of V(D)J recombination

Molecular Genetics Anja Groth OMG seminar series 

June 28, 2022

Anja Groth, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Chromatin replication in epigenome and genome maintenance

 Molecular Genetics Laura Niedernhofer OMG lecture series

May 24, 2022

Laura Niedernhofer, University of Minnesota, USA

Cell fates in response to endogenous DNA damage

 Petr Cejka PhD, BMW OMG series  

April 12, 2022

Petr Cejka, Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Switzerland

The function of nucleases in homologous recombination and replication stress


January 11, 2022 

Taekjip Ha, John Hopkins School of Medicine, USA

Light, CRISPR and DNA repair


December 7, 2021

Jan Vijg, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, USA

Somatic mutations, genome mosaicism, aging and disease


October 6, 2021

Andrew Jackson, MRC Human Genetics Unit, UK

Human disease to molecular mechanism: genome instability, inflammation and mutagenesis


September 8, 2021

Titia de Lange, The Rockefeller University, USA   

Telomeres and cancer: tumor suppression and genome instability

 Judy Campisi Online Molecular Genetics Seminar Series

July 6, 2021

Judy Campisi, Buck Institute, USA

Cancer and aging: Rival demons?

 Genevieve Almouzni Online Molecular Genetics Seminar Series  

June 2, 2021

Genevieve Almouzni, Institute Curie, France

Histone H3 variants and their chaperones and cell fate

 Simon Boulton Online Molecular Genetics Seminar Series  

May 11, 2021

Simon Boulton, Crick Institute, UK

Mechanism of Chromosome end protection

 Johannes Walter Online Molecular Genetics Seminar Series

April 12, 2021

Johannes Walter, Harvard (HHMI), USA

Signals and Mechanisms for Replisome Disassembly

 David Pellman-Online Molecular Genetics Seminar Series

March 16, 2021

David Pellman, Dana-Farber (HHMI), USA

Mechanisms driving the rapid evolution of cancer genome


Our News

C9orf72 dna streng

PhD defence by Maria Birkisdottir

‘Neurodegeneration and the Roles of DNA Damage and Nutrition’.

Promotors: Prof. dr. J.H.J. Hoeijmakers

Co-promotor: Dr. D. Jaarsma

August 28, starting at 10:30 am

Queridozaal, EMC


PhD defence by Thom Reuvers

‘Improving peptide receptor radionuclide therapy outcomes: a radiobiological approach’.

Promotor: dr. J. Nonnekens, Prof. dr.R. Kanaar, Prof. dr. E. Verburg

Co-promotor: Dr. E.M. Bos

November 26, starting at 3:30 pm

Queridozaal, EMC


PhD defence by Carlota Davo Martinez

Spotting DNA damage repair pathways: real-time methods and mechanisms’.

Promotor: Prof. dr. W. Vermeulen

Co-promotor: Dr. W.J. Lans

December 6, starting at 1 pm

Queridozaal, EMC


PhD defence by Pin-Rui Su

‘Microscopy-based single-cell multi-omics profiling of cancer subpopulations’.


Promotor: Prof. dr. R. Kanaar


Co-promotor: Dr. M-P Chien

December 11, starting at 10:30 am

Queridozaal, EMC


Erasmus MC Faculty building

Read more: Articles on Amazing Erasmus MC

Ontdekking: file op het DNA zorgt voor veroudering

Amazing Erasmus artikel dna schade 

DNA-reparatie: Josephine Nefkensprijs voor Roland Kanaar

JNI prijs Roland Kanaar 


Prestigeuze Europese bers voor jonge wetenschappers-Nitika Taneja

Nitika Taneja ERC starting grant 

About our Department

BSc & MSc students

Internships for HLO-BSc and MSc students

The Department of Molecular Genetics has been the driving force behind two novel educational programs at the Erasmus MC:

The Molecular Research Master Molecular Medicine and the Nanobiology Program. Principal Investigators from the department are the educational directors of the programs. In both programs, teachers are Principal Investigators and post-doctoral fellows who are actively involved in the different research lines of the department. They are therefore able to transfer their knowledge, fascination and dedication to research to the students.

Students in the Research Master Molecular Medicine do research internships in the department under the supervision of experienced lab members. The students contribute to research, and some have become authors on publications. A number of them go on to the PhD program in the department or elsewhere. 


The Nanobiology BSc (started in 2012) and MSc (started in 2015) are unique programs in fundamental biology for the future. They combine a strong basis in math, physics and programming to help understand the complexity of biology. They are also joint degree programs with TU Delft. Nanobiology prepares scientists/engineers to take on difficult societal challenges focusing on medicine and health. To date, about half of the MSc graduates have entered PhD programs in biomedical fields, while others are working in the high tech industry, teaching and government agencies.

While the Molecular Medicine program mainly covers the translation of biomedical research to clinical problems and the reverse, Nanobiology concentrates on combining mathematics and physics into biological experimentation. These areas nicely cover the breadth of research in the department, making a natural connection for students and the various research groups.

For HLO students: if you would like to do an internship within our Department:

Please contact Martine Jaegle

Postdoc Researchers

The Erasmus MC Postdoc Network was initiated in 2011 to advance the careers of Postdocs and final year PhD students. It brings postdocs and final year PhD students within the Erasmus MC together to raise awareness of all relevant aspects important for a successful career in science. The postdoc network organizes network meetings, plenary sessions, workshops and discussions on how to shape a scientific career and to develop academic as well as transferable skills. It provides a platform for postdocs to exchange work experiences, plans, challenges, tips and tricks. Each Postdoc Network meeting will end with an informal reception for networking.


Erasmus MC Faculty building

PhD students

The Biomedical Sciences PhD program

When it comes to PhD education, the department contributes to a ‘Cell and Developmental Biology’ course and organizes and contributes to ‘Special topics in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Cell biology’ such as CRISPR-Cas and Optogenetics courses. The Nanobiology and Medicine educational programs also provide the opportunity for PhD students to gain experience as teaching assistants and as supervisors of Nanobiology BSc and MSc research projects.

Besides doing research, PhD students from 6 departments at Erasmus MC (Cell Biology, Molecular Genetics, Developmental Biology, Genetic Identification, Biochemistry and Neuroscience) also have to follow the Biomedical Sciences PhD program, which is briefly described in the "Teaching Program of Biomedical Sciences". 



The Biomedical Sciences PhD program is embedded in the Graduate School Medical Genetics Center South West Netherlands.

The additional requirements, courses, and modules of this program are aimed at further improving education, training and technical expertise of PhD students at Erasmus MC.

In addition, the Biomedical Sciences PhD program incorporates obligatory courses offered by the Erasmus MC. More information on being a PhD student within the Erasmus MC can be found at STiP.


Attending (inter)national meeting(s) in your scientific field and presenting your work  is obligatory. Also PhD students of the Medical Genetics Center yearly organize themselves a 3 day scientific retreat at an attractive location in one of the neighbouring countries. We adhere to the Erasmus MC requirement that a total of 30 training credits (ECTS) points are obtained by the student at the end of the PhD. Students can obtain ECTS points for each course and lecture they follow.


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