3 September

ERC Starting Grant for Jacques Bothma

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Jacques Bothma has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant. The prestigious ERC Starting grants are awarded to support up-and-coming research leaders who have recently established their own research team in Europe. Bothma will investigate how transcription factors and enhancers regulate gene activity during animal development in real time.

During the development of an animal, different genes are activated and expressed at different moments to ensure that an entire animal is created properly. When and where these genes are activated is largely regulated by proteins called transcription factors that bind to small regulator DNA sequences called enhancers. How these transcription factors exactly regulate the activation of genes during the development of an animal remains one of the most important open questions in biology. We understand the mechanisms that lead to gene activation, but we don’t how this is regulated over time during development in an animal.

Jacques Bothma will use his newly-awarded ERC Starting Grant to study exactly that: how do transcription factors and enhancers regulate the activity of genes while development is actually taking place. For this he will use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, a widely used model organism in developmental biology. He will exploit the cutting-edge live imaging technology and quantitative approaches that he developed previously. This will enable him to visualize transcription factor concentration dynamics, gene activity, and even single transcription factor molecules in live Drosophila embryos and carry out measurements that once seemed impossible.




Jacques Bothma is group leader at the Hubrecht Institute.

Read the press release from the European Research Council here.