Jan H.J. Hoeijmakers is a professor of Molecular Genetics Institute of Genetics Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam The Netherlands. After finishing Molecular Biology in Radbound University Nijmenge in 1975 he began his Ph.D. in University of Amsterdam, where he worked with his PhD Thesis: ‘Trypanosomes: Kinetoplast DNA and Antigenic Variation’. Then he discovered unexpected DNA rearrangements resolving antigenic variation by which trypanosomes evade immune destruction and now he is working in dept. of Genetics in Erasmus MC, Rotterdam.
In 1981 he started to study DNA repair at the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam and cloned the first human DNA repair gene, followed by ~half of all repair genes in nucleotide excision repair allowing elucidation of the molecular mechanism and discovery of a surprising link with basal transcription. He clarified the basis of rare repair disorders: xeroderma pigmentosum, Cockayne syndrome and trichothiodystrophy.
His laboratory generated the largest collection of highly informative mouse repair mutants and disclosed a tight connection between DNA damage and (accelerated) aging, a trade-off between cancer and aging and DNA-damage-induced transcription stress in normal aging explaining all proteinopathies. His team also found that calorie restriction dramatically delays premature aging, most prominently neurodegeneration and triples lifespan in repair-deficient mice by reducing endogenous DNA damage. These findings have wide clinical implications for repair syndromes, dementia’s, treatment by chemo- and radiotherapy and ischemia-reperfusion injury associated with surgery and organ transplantation, which all involve (oxidative) DNA damage induced by the reperfusion causing local aging. To apply this knowledge he started a new laboratory on Genome Instability and Nutrition at the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology in Utrecht, to use nutritional interventions to prevent the long-term accelerated aging associated with chemo- and radiotherapy, which significantly affect quality of life of cancer survivors. For all his work he received numerous awards and prizes.
Jan H.J. Hoeijmakers have more than 430 publications in International scientific journals (H factor >100) and now several paradigm-shifting papers on the striking anti-aging effect of DR-mimicking nutritional interventions in DNA repair-deficient progeroid mouse mutants and their high relevance for neurodegeneration including Alzheimer and Parkinson disease are in advanced stage.
One of his abstracts about the impact on DNA damage, transcription stress and nutrition on aging can be found here.