Wouter de Laat (Prof. Biomedical Genomics, Oncode and Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht) received his PhD (1998) in molecular biochemistry at the Erasmus University. His research group has a longstanding interest in long-range gene activation and pioneers the use and further development of chromosome conformation capture technologies for 3D genome studies. His group was the first to demonstrate chromatin loops between genes and enhancers and to show that CTCF is a chromatin looping factor. They developed 4C technology and multi-contact 4C to show that transcription regulatory sequences spatially aggregate in hubs. They were the first to pioneer the use of ‘C’ methods for chromosome rearrangement detection in clinical diagnostics. Wouter de Laat is founder of the biotech company Cergentis, received national and European career grants and is an elected EMBO member.