11 October

ERC Synergy Grant for Geert Kops

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Geert Kops has received a European Research Council (ERC) Synergy Grant to investigate the causes and effects of chromosomal aberrations in cancer, together with Iva Tolic (Ruder Boskovic Institute), Angelika Amon (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Nenad Pavin (University of Zagreb). Together they receive 10 million euros for their interdisciplinary effort that combines cell biology, bio(physics) and genetics.

This European Synergy grant provides a unique opportunity for us to work with teams from different disciplines including physics and genetics to discover the origins of chromosome aberrations in cancer.

Chromosomal aberrations are prevalent during early embryonic development and in cancer, but it is unclear how these aberrations originate and how these aberrations exactly affect early embryonic and cancer development. The results of this research will help to elucidate these questions. In addition, the researchers will develop new methods to perform quantitative cell biology in human tissues. At the moment cellular processes are mainly studied in mono-layer cell lines due to the challenging nature of human 3D tissue. Studying cellular processes in human tissue will greatly expand our knowledge on how cells function in their native environment.

Chromosomes in the nuclei of a human colon organoid. Copyright: Hubrecht Institute

Within the project, the Kops group will use human cancer organoids, or 3D mini-organs grown in the lab, to study the behavior of cells that lead to chromosomal aberrations and what happens to these cells after chromosomal aberrations occur. In collaboration with the other researchers they will also study ways to manipulate cell-cell interactions and cellular processes, and build mathematical models that simulate these processes and can test many possible variables. Variables that are predicted to impact the appearance of chromosomal aberrations will then be studies experimentally.

Geert Kops: “This European Synergy grant provides a unique opportunity for us to work with teams from different disciplines including physics and genetics to discover the origins of chromosome aberrations in cancer. The contribution of our group will focus on studying molecular processes in human cancer organoids.”

 

 

Geert Kops is group leader at the Hubrecht Institute, professor of Molecular Tumor Cell Biology at the University Medical Center Utrecht, Oncode Investigator and Scientific Director of Oncode Institute.

 

 

The ERC Synergy Grant is a grant for challenging research questions that are simply too big to address for one scientist or even discipline.

Banner photo: chromosomes in the nuclei of a human colon organoid. Copyright: Hubrecht Institute