THIJN BRUMMELKAMP NL
Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), Amsterdam
Sunday, 22 September, 19:00-19:45, Auditorium
The EMBO Gold Medal 2013 has been awarded to Thijn Brummelkamp, Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
For more detail about his achievements, please see the EMBO press release.
Awarded annually, the EMBO Gold Medal recognizes outstanding contributions of young researchers in the molecular life sciences.
The recipient is awarded the Medal at The EMBO Meeting and gives a talk.
Human Cells as Genetic Model ‘Organism’ to Study Disease
Genetics can provide a powerful window on the components that play a role in complex biological processes. By doing so it has revolutionized almost all aspects of biology. Human cell cultures are frequently used as experimental tool to study processes related to human disease. However the human genome is largely refractory to efficient mutagenesis due to its diploid nature. Therefore it remains challenging to apply the powerful genetic approaches that were successful in genetic model organisms to human cells. Our group recently developed an entirely novel genetic model system based on insertional mutagenesis in haploid and near-haploid human cells. We have shown that this approach enables the generation of knockouts for most human genes and can be used to pinpoint genes that are involved in phenotypes of interest. Combined with next-generation sequencing approaches, this yields high-density genetic overviews of genes required for nearly any selectable cell trait. In a variety of genetic screens we have identified host factors required for infection of cells by influenza virus, the first entry receptor for a Clostridium difficile toxin and we identified a role for the cholesterol transporter NPC1 in the entry of Ebola virus. We foresee yeast-like genetics in haploid human cells can be used to link genes to a variety of phenotypes beyond infectious disease.