About Pieter MestdaghThe dark side of your genome
Our DNA is an astoundingly and intriguing complex puzzle. Containing the genetic instructions that have allowed us to grow, develop and function over the past centuries, still many pieces of this dazzling puzzle have yet to be understood. Determining how we will look, like, love as well as how susceptible we are to particular diseases, it was long believed that only 5% of the total genome provided senseful coding— leaving the remaining 95% named as “Junk DNA”. Acclaimed to have no particular function throughout life, crucial pieces of our genetic code were regrettably left to be neglected for decades. At the hand of novel technologies and with the necessary critical view on firmly established knowledge, Prof. Pieter Mestdagh, expert in human genetics, conducted cutting-edge yet controversial research to prove many scientist wrong. His moonshot work on the so-called “Junk DNA” has led to novel insights in cancer research providing pathways to innovative treatments and detection tools. In his talk “The dark side of your genome”, Prof. Mestdagh elaborates on his contentious research and its snowball effect on other highly relevant discoveries, proving for once and for all that everything in nature is there for a reason.