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Human molecular genetics

Research Group

Lifecycle:1 Oct 2003 →  30 Sep 2022
Organisation profile:The main research interest lies in the field of sensory genetics. Although work is done for different forms of sensory diseases, the emphasis is on nonsyndromic sensorineural hearing impairment and otosclerosis. Large families are collected in Belgium and The Netherlands, as well as in countries with high consanguinity rate such as Iran. These pedigrees are analyzed by linkage analysis. Subsequently, the genes involved are identified by positional cloning. The laboratory was able to localize a large number of deafness genes, and to identify several of them. Also complex genetic forms of hearing impairment are being analyzed, including age-related hearing impairment, noise-induced hearing impairment and otosclerosis. The laboratory has built substantial expertise in this field, and has collected large patient and family collections. The laboratory has been the first to identify genes that are associated with these three complex forms of hearing impairment. Some of the genes that were identified are being studied functionally, and mouse models are made for further analysis. One gene in particular, DFNA5, is being studied in detail. This gene is responsible for autosomal dominant hearing impairment, but is also an important tumor suppressor gene inactivated in various frequent forms of cancer.
Disciplines:Genetics, Systems biology, Molecular and cell biology