Principal Investigator, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The main interest of the Lenstra lab is to understand the mechanisms of transcription regulation in eukaryotic cells. In the last half century, our knowledge of gene expression regulation has greatly advanced, starting from pioneering molecular biology experiments on the lac operon and culminating in the explosion of genome-wide data collection. The majority of these measurements are coming from large populations of dead cells, providing a static snapshot of the average behavior of a biological process. However, the transcriptional process is highly dynamic, with transcription complexes assembling and disassembling on DNA with very rapid time scales. This stochastic behavior of individual macromolecules results in heterogeneity in transcriptional responses and cellular decisions, even for genetically identical cells in the same environment.