Science for Life conference 2019

Jan van Deursen

Jan M. van Deursen received his Ph.D. degree in Cell Biology at the University of Nijmegen, Netherlands in 1993. He joined the staff of Mayo Clinic in 1999, where he directs a curiosity-driven research programme focused on the basic biology of cancer and aging. Dr. van Deursen also directs the transgenic and gene knockout core facility (1999-present), the senescence programme of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging (2009-2017), the cell biology programme of the comprehensive cancer center (2012-present), the cancer and cell aging platform of the center for biomedical discovery (2015-present), and the Paul Glenn laboratories of senescence (2013-present). Since 2012, he serves as chair of the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2012-2020).

Over the past 20 years, Dr. van Deursen has employed and refined integrated genetic, genomic, cell biological and biochemical approaches to address how aberrancies in cell cycle progression contribute to tumor formation, with emphasis on processes involved in DNA replication and chromosome segregation. Mouse models he designed to understand how chromosomal instability drives cancer led to a series of seminal discoveries that causally linked the accumulation of senescent cells in tissues and organs to aging and the development of age-related diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis. His work on cellular senescence was recognised by Science Magazine as “Breakthrough of the Year Runner-up” in 2011 and 2016, and has led to the development of a new class of experimental medicines that target senescent cells in the context of various cancer treatments or the treatment of other age-related diseases.