... / Ontwikkelingsbiologie / Introductie


The Department Development Biology performs basic research and is involved in several teaching and training programs.

The Developmental Biology Department is part of the Erasmus MC - Biomedical Science theme.

Most organisms consist of a one single cell at least once in a life time. This is also true for us, where life starts as a single cell, the zygote, which forms the basis for more than 300 different cell types present in our body. Information required to be able to build these cell types, tissues, and complex organs, is located in our DNA. Although this DNA is identical in every cell the instructions are read differently to allow embryonic development to proceed. Differential reading of the DNA is aided by complex ‘epigenetic’ mechanisms that involve chromatin modifications to allow the cell to remember the decisions made and to maintain its identity. Prior to the start of new life, during the formation of egg and sperm and just after fertilization, all this information needs to be erased to be able to start with a clean slate. It is essential that the one cell embryo, the zygote, starts life and proceeds through embryonic development with both an intact genome, and a correctly marked epigenome. Erasure of old, and setting of new epigenetic information is influenced by the environment in which our gametes and embryos mature. Exposure to environmental factors and conditions, or genetic mutations, may lead to unscheduled changes in epigenetic memory of cells and tissues, impacting on health, fertility, and aging.   

sperm tails 3D

sperm tails 3D

The department of Developmental Biology aims to unravel the epigenetic mechanisms regulating cell fate decisions in the cycle of life, and to translate this knowledge to understand deregulations that may occur in X-linked diseases, cancer, infertility, and aging.


Wij onderzoeken en behandelen GEEN patiënten! Bent u patiënt? Neemt u dan, afhankelijk van de zorgvraag, contact op met een van de volgende poliklinieken:

  • Andrologie
    (010) 704 01 16
    08.00-12.00 uur
  • Endocrinologie
    (010) 704 01 15
    08.00-12.00 uur en 13.30-16.00 uur
  • In Vitro Fertilisatie / Voortplantingscentrum
    (010) 704 01 16
    09.30 – 11.30 uur en 13.30-15.00 uur
  • Verloskunde en Vrouwenziekten
    (010) 704 01 48
    08.00-12.00 uur en 13.30-16.30 uur