Research Theme 3

Regulation and perturbation of molecular and cellular networks that drive proliferation, differentiation and metastasis


An expansion of the repertoire of selective cancer drugs is urgently required. To improve drug target choice and drug efficacy, researchers need detailed knowledge about the molecular signalling networks at play. This is particularly true for disturbances in these networks, whether due to treatment or to the genetic lesions which induce cancer. The networks we will study range from purified protein complexes in vitro, to highly complex networks in dynamic tumour tissues in vivo.

Theme aims

  1. Understanding protein complexes at the molecular level – We aim to acquire high resolution structural information about protein complexes that are targeted with cancer therapeutics. Detailed understanding of these complexes can lead to novel drug targets or new insights into drug resistance.
  2. Understanding cellular signalling networks – Key cellular signalling networks are disturbed in cancer cells. Oncode Investigators are world leaders in understanding these networks and plan to map the details of these networks to uncover new nodes and possible targets. By studying single cells from heterogeneous organoids we can uncover signalling networks in a developing tumour.
  3. Identifying the origin of tumour heterogeneity – The highly heterogeneous nature of tumours challenges the design of treatments that target all cancer cells. We aim to better understand this heterogeneity during cancer growth and therapy by using single cell analyses in organoid tumour models.
  4. Understanding interactions between tumours and their environment – Tumours are influenced by their environment. To comprehend these interactions we will expand organoid models towards co-culture systems to mimic the in vivo environment. This will be complemented by tumour transplantation studies in mouse models.

Please find a more detailed description in our Strategic Plan.

Theme leader

Madelon Maurice Research Management Committee



Marvin Tanenbaum Oncode Investigator
Jacco van Rheenen Oncode Investigator

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