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Genetic Instability Syndromes and Cancer Susceptibility


Admission requirements

  • Successful completion of How To Write A Research Proposal is strongly recommended.

  • The course will be given at second year Master level. An introductory review on DNA repair and Mutagenesis describes basic starting-level knowledge of the field, and can be obtained from the coordinator.


Period: This course will not be taught in 2011-2012, but in 2012-2013. The description below is indicative for the course contents but may be updated by May/June 2012.

Content of the course:
The stability of our genome is under constant surveillance while some instability is required to enable evolution.Key players in these processes are protein complexes involved in DNA replication, DNA repair and chromosome segregation as well as DNA damage responses. Defects in these systems may lead to increased mutations, chromosomal instability and ultimately to cancer. In this course you will get insights in these processes but also in how fundamental scientific research is conducted.


  • Week 1 and 2: acquire essential basic knowledge through introductory lectures given by experts in the field and through self-study assignments and workgroups. You will study and discuss key reviews, read and present recent literature and get demonstrations of available techniques.

  • Week 3 and 4: study a specific defect in genetic stability or a particular syndrome. By critical reading students will review in a written report and oral presentation the present state of the art and discuss missing and conflicting data. Students write a short proposal for an experiment and defend this proposal for a panel of researchers.

This course will particularly work on:

Research competences:
Defining a research question, writing a research proposal, choosing appropriate techniques.
Professional competences:
Collaborating with peers, digesting of other people’s opinions, reflecting on personal actions

Course objectives

The student will acquire:

  • an overall understanding into the processes that lifeguard genome stability and the consequences for fitness and disease.

  • deep knowledge of a specific subject related to the course topic

  • insights in the conduct of mechanistic, biomedical research

  • the ability to convey this knowledge and discrepancies in views to the other students

Mode of instruction

Plenary sessions, self study assignments, work groups; active participation in symposium.

Assesment method

Written report of a literature study; research proposal; student behaviour (motivation, independency, oral reporting, participation in discussion; oral presentation).