It is not an easy discipline, Vertegaal likes to admit that. "I say to candidate PhD students: If you want a doctor's degree soon, you should not start working on SUMO proteins. But if you like a challenge, you are welcome. " According to Vertegaal, the complexity of SUMO research lies in the fact that SUMO can bind -as far as we know - more than a thousand proteins. But how do you find out what the role of each protein is? Together they form a gigantic network that keeps the cell running.
Compliment to research group
In order to find answers to his research questions Vertegaal has gathered a talented and diverse team around him. He works with cell biologists and biochemists, but also with bioinformatics specialists and mass spectrometry experts - a method he uses a lot. "That's what I think is beautiful, for everyone to work well together. Everyone works on his or her own part, but also on our common goal. Research is teamwork and I see this appointment as a compliment to my entire research group."