- MGC -

 In memoriam Dirk Bootsma

 Last Monday, October 5, Prof. Dirk Bootsma has tragically passed away.

Dirk Bootsma was the founder of the Medical Genetics Center between the Leiden and Rotterdam Universities, the first officially recognized Research School  in the Netherlands. Nationally, he has been in numerous committees e.g. in the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, Medical Sciences of NWO, the Dutch Cancer Society, the Health Council of the Netherlands.  Importantly, he was the chair of the Dutch Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee and was able to settle a turbulent national debate on perceived hazards that might originate from recombining DNA. He was the main organizer of a series of the well-known International Workshops on DNA repair in Noordwijkerhout in the Netherlands, which are still running. In recognition of his work he has received many national and international honours and awards among which the Royal Shell Prize, the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine in Europe and Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion.

 Dirk was an inspiring leader, honest, integer, putting people first, with a very collaborative spirit and positive, constructive attitude, a team leader that allowed his collaborators to maximally develop their capabilities. He was godfather of DNA repair in the Netherlands and very influential in Europe and globally. Scientifically he was very sharp and had a keen eye for which research directions would be important to pursue. Above all, he was a very kind, nice, reliable person and for many who were his collaborators a genuine friend/father. He died at the age of 84 amidst his beloved children.

Jan Hoeijmakers, also on behalf of Roland Kanaar

 Research school MGC

The Medical Genetics Centre South-West Netherlands (MGC) was founded in 1988 on the initiative of the Medical faculties of the Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University to consolidate and strengthen the knowledge and research qualities within the various medical genetics institutes, with the ultimate goal of increasing the quality of life. Nowadays MGC connects 18 research groups from Erasmus Medical Centre (Erasmus MC), Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) and Faculty of Science of Leiden University (UL). In parallel, the MGC serves as a training institute for PhD (and master) students.

From the founding a number of research lines can be distinguished:

  1. Genetic and molecular basis of cancer and aging
  2. Heriditary and congenital abnormalities
  3. Risk assessment after exposure to radiation and chemical agents
  4. Genome expression and stability
  5. Development of diagnostics and therapeutics 

Over the years, these lines of research have been deepened, broadened and greatly accelerated through the findings and development of techniques. For example, 'omics' techniques enable risk analysis on an individual level and by the elucidation of the human genome in combination with mechanistic studies of diseases, many applications in (prenatal) diagnostics have been developed. In the future, the emphasis will continue to be on fundamental scientific research into molecular and cellular processes. The knowledge gained from this will increasingly be used for clinical or other social applications.

MGC PhD program

MGC also serves as a training institute for young researchers. The aim of the MGC is to provide the PhD students with an optimal environment for performing high-quality research, while offering PhD students the opportunity to cover a wide range of aspects of cellular biology and molecular and medical genetics, including the provision of an extensive course program.

A broad education, in addition to the usually super specialized research program, is of great value for both the MGC and the PhD student who will attain a better 'market value' and will, thus, have a better chance on the job market. About 225 PhD students are currently working towards a PhD degree in one of the MGC affiliated departments.    

Participation in the MGC teaching programme is mandatory for all PhD students within the MGC. The package of courses for the individual PhD student contains obligatory courses including the ones demanded by the Medical Faculties in Leiden, Rotterdam and by the University of Leiden. Each of these organizations has a PhD program for their PhD students. These programs are embedded in the Graduate School MGC. The PhD students of the MGC are advised to carefully check the program of the organization they belong to and comply with the requirements.

In addition to compulsory activities that the different graduate schools have imposed on PhD students, the MGC has formulated another two activities that a PhD student must follow during his/her appointment:

  • Course 'Safe Laboratory Techniques' ("Veilig werken in Laboratoria")

A 'one day' course. The following points will be addressed: safe microbiological techniques; radionuclides; carcinogenic agents; blood, viruses; radiation. This course has to be taken in the first year. The course will be given twice a year, alternately in English and Dutch. The course will be given in collaboration with the Department VSM of the LUMC. Next date 22 May, 2019 (English version).

  • MGC PhD student workshop

The format is a yearly four-day meeting outside town. PhD students are strongly advised to participate three times. For more information follow this link.

As far as it concerns the non-compulsory part the PhD student is free to compile his/her own individual program of course in consultation with his supervisor. The MGC is aware that the teaching program of each PhD student should cover as much as possible the whole field of cellular biology, and/or molecular and medical genetics and organizes, therefore, more than 15 specialized courses on a large variety of subjects. Besides courses organized by the MGC, PhD courses can also be followed at other research schools or institutes such as MolMed, and Boerhaave who also offer a wide range of courses. 

 For Information about the "MGC course program 2019 - 2021" please check here