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About Roland Kanaar

About Roland Kanaar

Roland KanaarRoland Kanaar studied chemistry at Leiden University and obtained his PhD degree in 1988 for research on the action of an enhancer in site-specific DNA recombination and the elucidation of how nucleoprotein complexes assembled at distant sites along a DNA chain communicate with each other to provide selectivity during recombination. His post-doctoral work with at the University of California, Berkeley, aimed at understanding mechanisms of homologous recombination (with Dr. Nick R. Cozzarelli) and at understanding how proteins and RNA interact to achieve accurate but flexible recognition of splice sites (with Dr. Don Rio). In 1995 he joined the Department of Genetics and the Department of Radiation Oncology at Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam. In 2000 he was appointed Professor of Molecular Radiation Genetics. His current research addresses the mechanisms and biological relevance of the DNA damage response. The DNA damage response is essential to prevent chromosomal abnormalities, which in their turn may lead to hereditary diseases, cancer, cell decay and aging. A salient feature of his work is the strong multi- and interdisciplinary approach, which contributed to making him a leader in the field. His work spans the experimental range from single molecule biophysics to animal models. Depending on the specific question at hand techniques from biophysics, structural biology, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology and animal genetics are applied in his laboratory. Integrating information through this spectrum of techniques has a synergistic effect on the ability of his research group to translate fundamental insight into how the DNA damage response operates to how it can be used to select patients for DNA damage response-targeting precision cancer therapy and how it can be manipulated to design and explore novel cancer treatments.

In 2002 he was elected as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and in 2013 we was elected to the the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He has coordinated a number of large EU projects, including ‘DNA damage response and breast cancer’. He is a co-founder of Cancer Genomics Netherlands, which was established in 2013 as a ‘Center of Excellence’ through the Gravitation (Zwaartekracht) Program.

Education and Positions

Director Joint Erasmus MC / TU Delft MSc program Nanobiology
Professor of Molecular Radiation Genetics, Erasmus Medical Center, Dept. Molecular Genetics and Dept.Radiation Oncology, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Dept. Genetics, The Netherlands
Senior postdoctoral fellow of The American Cancer Society, Dept. Molecular & Cell Biology, UC Berkeley, USA
Postdoctoral fellow of The Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research, Dept. Molecular & Cell Biology, UC Berkeley, USA
National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, Dept. Molecular Biology, UC Berkeley, USA
Ph.D. Molecular Genetics, Leiden University, The Netherlands
M.Sc. Biochemistry, Leiden University, The Netherlands
B.Sc. Chemistry, Leiden University, The Netherlands