Studying protein interactions in embryonic development and drug discovery

Thursday 11 April 2024, 12:30 pm
PhD student
D.W. Zijlmans
prof. dr. M. Vermeulen
dr. H. Marks

This thesis explores the multifaceted role of proteins in cellular functions, emphasizing their significance in signaling, enzymatic activity, structural support, and epigenetic regulation of DNA. The first part of the thesis focuses on the role of proteins in embryonic development, specifically examining epigenetic regulatory factors such as the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) and the histone mark H3K27me3. The second part of the thesis employs mass spectrometry-based thermal shift proteomics to investigate protein interactions in drug discovery. We identify the molecular targets of cancer drugs, as well as introduce a one-pot method for assessing thermal stability differences using mass spectrometry. Overall, this comprehensive study contributes valuable insights into the intricate roles of proteins in embryonic development and drug discovery, highlighting the power of mass spectrometry techniques in advancing proteomic research.

Dick Zijlmans was born on the 10th of September, 1994 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. In 2012, after graduating with honors from the Arthur Alex Hoogendoorn Atheneum in Paramaribo, Suriname, he continued his education at the Radboud University Nijmegen, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. In 2016, he joined the (research) Master’s program Molecular Mechanisms Of Disease at the Radboud University Medical Center. His Master’s internships included work on the recruitment of mechanisms of PRC2 with Hendrik Marks and unravelling the attenuation mechanism of the yellow fever virus 17D vaccine at Rockefeller University under Prof. Charles Rice. Upon finishing his Master’s degree with honors in 2019, Dick joined the lab of Prof. Michiel Vermeulen at the Department of Molecular Biology of the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Science in Nijmegen. Here, he focused on protein interactions in embryonic development and drug discovery, which includes work that is presented in this thesis.