3 October 2018

Dirk Lefeber has been appointed professor of Glycosylation Disorders, with effect from 1 July 2018. Lefeber leads the research group Glycosylation Disorders in Neurology.

Glycosylation is a process by which proteins are modified with different sugars. Variations in this process occur with almost every disease. Although the biological language of our DNA and proteins is already well understood, this is certainly not the case for protein glycosylation.

To gain more insight into this, Dirk Lefeber investigates patients with hereditary metabolic disorders at Radboudumc. Amongst his most important findings is the discovery of several new molecular routes for the incorporation of sugars into the muscle. Understanding such abnormalities has already led to improved diagnostics and new therapies in patient care.

Vidi

Dirk Lefeber (Elst, 1974) studied chemistry at Utrecht University and received his MSc, with honours, in 1997. In 2001, he obtained his PhD on synthetic carbohydrate vaccines against pneumococcal bacteria. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher in infectiology at the University Medical Center Utrecht and subsequently took a staff position in the department of Neurology and the Translational Metabolic Laboratory in Nijmegen. After undertaking a four-year training programme as a laboratory specialist clinical genetics, Lefeber built a research group in the field of Glycosylation Disorders.

He is also leader of the Radboudumc Expertise Center for Disorders of Glycosylation. Lefeber has received various national and international prizes, including a Vidi grant from the NWO.

Proteins

As professor of Glycosylation Disorders in Neurology, he will focus on the mechanisms of protein glycosylation in (hereditary) neurological diseases. The Lefeber group is developing new technologies to study the glycosylation of proteins, and will use these widely to improve medical science. Through his research, he wants to gain new insights into the process of protein glycosylation in disease, and translate these into improved person-oriented care.

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