2 May 2024

New BRIC group leader seeks a multi-expertise approach in research

New PI

Associate professor Julien Duxin is new group leader at BRIC. On June 10, 2024, Duxin-group from Center for Protein is moving to BRIC.

The Duxin-lab moves to BRIC on June 10
The Duxin-lab moves to BRIC on June 10

When a patient suffering from cancer undergoes treatment with chemotherapy there is a good chance that the treatment will be effectful. Chemotherapy has been widely used in cancer treatment for decades, nevertheless our knowledge on the mechanisms employed by cells to repair the damage generated by chemotherapy remains very limited.

This is what associate professor Julien Duxin studies. For seven years the Duxin-group has investigated the process of genome duplication and maintenance with a particular focus on how lesions induced on DNA from chemo therapeutic agents are repaired. By using extracts from frog-eggs as model systems they have discovered how the protein RFWD3 is crucial for our DNA maintenance.

Xenopus eggs extracts as model system

To understand how the repair occurs they use protein extracts from Xenopus frog-eggs, which have the same DNA repair proteins as the human body. By adding a DNA substrate containing a defined DNA lesion to the extract, the researchers can study how the lesion in question is repaired.

“We combine biochemical work using those Xenopus eggs extracts with cellular work. And by doing that we can get a deep understanding of the repair mechanism which can be difficult to achieve in cells,” explains Julien Duxin.

The cell-free environment enables the group to manipulate the system in a way that is not possible in the human body.

Brings knowledge to expand scientific horizon  

Apart from Julien Duxin, the Duxin-group consists of 11 researchers from postgraduate level to PhD’s and postdocs, who will transfer their research from Center for Protein Research to BRIC due to the close of the center in 2026.

Asked what characterizes the Duxin-group, Julien Duxin emphasizes their collaboration with other research groups and their ability to feed from and add to the environment they are part of. According to the group leader the move to BRIC will provide them new scientific opportunities and enables them to use methods they have never used before.

“My lab is really a biochemical lab, and thanks to the CPR environment we are now doing cryo-EM structural studies in Xenopus egg extracts and CRISPR-Cas9 screens in human cells. We are looking forward to our move to BRIC to provide but also to pick up new expertises,” he says.

That approach to collaboration moves with the Duxin-group, he says.

“Our lab is in a transition, and I want to continue in that direction by bringing a multi-disciplinary approach or multi-expertise approach to get back to our central question: How does a repair mechanistically occur?”.