8 April 2022 Marie Curie Fellowship for Imke Mandemaker Back to news Imke Mandemaker, from the group of Francesca Mattiroli, is awarded a MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship by the European Commission (EC) to study specific mechanisms that regulate the activity of genes. This type of fellowship is intended to support researchers’ careers and foster excellence in research. The human body contains many different cell types – for example skin cells, liver cells and intestinal cells – but all these cell types contain the exact same DNA. The differences between cell types therefore do not originate from the DNA, but arise from the genes that are active within a cell. Epigenetics Gene activity is carefully organized through so-called epigenetic processes. Epigenetic processes do not cause permanent changes to DNA, but they can change which parts of the DNA can be read, which influences the proteins that are produced and therefore the function of the cell. Regulation of epigenetic processes is crucial for maintaining the identity of cells and to prevent diseases such as cancer. Wrapping of DNA To fit all DNA in a cell’s small nucleus, it is wrapped around proteins called histones. The way DNA is wrapped influences what parts of the DNA are readable for the cell. These histones therefore play an important role in epigenetic regulation. One specific type of histone – macroH2A – is important for suppression of gene activity. Mandemaker explains: “I previously discovered a new factor that places the macroH2A marker on DNA. In my project, I will study how the placing of macroH2A by this factor regulates gene activity.” About MSCA Fellowships The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowships of the European Commission (EC) are intended to support researchers’ careers and foster excellence in research. They target researchers who finished their PhD and wish to carry out their research activities abroad, acquire new skills and develop their careers. This round, 1156 out of 8356 applicants were awarded a fellowship.