Garaycoechea: Metabolic mutagenesis

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The Garaycoechea group studies how the interaction between metabolism and DNA repair leads to mutation in a physiological setting.

DNA carries the instructions of life, but is also under constant attack. The resulting damage, if not repaired, leads to mutation and disease. Common environmental mutagens include sunlight and cigarette smoke, but the integrity of DNA is also threatened by chemicals produced by our own body. Our group wants to understand what are the metabolites that arise within cells that damage DNA, and the consequences of this damage. Particularly, we are interested in understanding the maintenance of genome stability in stem cells, the rare cell populations responsible for tissue maintenance.

Key publicationsView all publications

Alcohol and endogenous aldehydes damage chromosomes and mutate stem cells

Garaycoechea JI, Crossan GP, Langevin F, Mulderrig L, Louzada S, Yang F, Guilbaud G, Park N, Roerink S, Nik-Zainal S, Stratton MR, Patel KJ

Nature 11;553(7687):171-177


Endogenous formaldehyde is a hematopoietic stem cell genotoxin and metabolic carcinogen

Pontel LB, Rosado IV, Burgos-Barragan G, Garaycoechea JI, Yu R, Arends MJ, Chandrasekaran G, Broecker V, Wei W, Liu L, Swenberg JA, Crossan GP, Patel KJ

Mol Cell 1;60(1):177-88


Genotoxic consequences of endogenous aldehydes on mouse haematopoietic stem cell function

Garaycoechea JI, Crossan GP, Langevin F, Daly M, Arends MJ, Patel KJ

Nature. Sep 27;489(7417):571-5


PLoS Genet. 2020 Apr 9;16(4):e1008555.


Group leader

Juan Garaycoechea

Juan Garaycoechea began his scientific career in Argentina, where in 2010 he obtained a first-class degree in Biotechnology from Universidad Nacional de Quilmes. He was then awarded the César Milstein scholarship to carry out his PhD studies at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), in Cambridge, UK. At the end of his studies, Juan was awarded a Junior Research Fellowship by King’s College, Cambridge to support his post-doctoral research at the LMB. He is a group leader at the Hubrecht Institute from October 2018, where he studies the metabolites that damage DNA and how this leads to mutation in a physiological context.

Group members

Juan Garaycoechea

Group Leader

Naomi Weertman


Gijs Schröder


Juliëtte Wezenbeek

PhD Student

Ruben van der Lugt


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Research group

Garaycoechea group

Start date



Utrecht Science Park