CARIM Newsletter January 2017
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This newsletter contains information on the following subjects:
  • Save the dates
  • Horizon 2020 project INTRICARE funded
  • Ilja Arts PI CARIM
  • Paramount papers
  • Who's new?!
  • Grant deadlines
  • AXA Post-Doctoral fellowship
  • Cardiovascular Grand Rounds Maastricht
  • MCCT conference
  • Symposia & other lectures
  • Academic events

CARIM newsletter

Contributions for the newsletter (e.g. news of events and grants, important publications, societial impact related topics and research results related to CARIM's research) can be sent to Please submit the text in English and include a short title. The text should be max. 200 words. If applicable, include high resolution pictures and other documents.

As from last month, two regular sections are added: "Paramount papers" and Translational trends". So, if you have a top publication or a translational development worth mentioning, please contact CARIM Office. 

Academy Symposium - March 24, 2017

On Friday March 24, 2017 an international symposium on the topic of hypertension will be organised by CARIM in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).
Speakers from Dublin, Glasgow, Maastricht, Madrid, Padua  and Paris will cover various aspects of hypertension research including epidemiology and treatment.
The symposium will start around 10.30 hours at La Bonbonniere in the old town of Maastricht and will end around 16.00 hours.
The symposium will be held on the occasion of the valedictory lecture of Professor Thomas Unger as Scientific Director of CARIM, that will take place at 16.30 hours at the Minderbroedersberg 4-6.

Details will follow.

CARIM/HVC day - May 10, 2017

The CARIM/HVC day that was planned for Wednesday January 11, is rescheduled to Wednesday May 10 (12.00-22.00 hours) to ensure maximal availability.

Information about the off-campus location and programme will be communicated in the near future.

CARIM-coordinated Horizon 2020 Marie Curie ITN project 'INTRICARE' funded

At the end of 2016, the INTRICARE project, coordinated by CARIM, MUMC+, and lead by Prof. Thomas Unger, Prof. Tilman Hackeng, and Dr Leon Schurgers, was funded by the European Union within the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie research and innovation programme to train 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs). 

INTRICARE (International Network for Training on Risks of vascular intimal Calcification And roads to Regression of cardiovascular disease) is a European joint doctorate (EJD) program between CARIM/MUMC+ Maastricht; Universitätsklinikum Aachen; Karolinska Institutet Stockholm and King’s College London, and is shaped to address the urgent, unmet medical needs concerning vulnerable plaques and is guided by the academic and industrial demand for a new generation of entrepreneurial scientists, who have the skills, expertise and know-how to expedite our understanding of early atherosclerosis and translation thereof into concrete clinical interventions for prevention and therapy. 

INTRICARE is an interdisciplinary and international consortium involving 4 leading academic institutions and 9 SME's. The 15 ESRs will engage in network-wide training events, public engagement activities and international collaboration through secondments, at industrial or academic partner institutions within the EU. Six ESR’s will be hosted by CARIM under the supervision of Leon Schurgers, Tilman Hackeng, Rory Koenen, Eline Kooi, Erik Biessen and Thomas Unger.

Organised around three pillars, notably initiation of atherogenesis, vascular remodelling associated microcalcification and imaging of microcalcification and vulnerable plaque formation, the four front-running research institutes in the field of biochemistry and vascular biology will join forces to address the aforementioned needs through training and research. Each of the three themes will incorporate both basic and translational science and education, supported by a strong network of academic and non-academic partner organisations. The INTRICARE ESRs will be pivotal in the identification of selective targets for microvascular, and its consequences for plaque stability, and provide subsequent strategies for prevention or amelioration of vulnerable plaque formation, both during as well as beyond the INTRICARE project. 

Moreover, the INTRICARE consortium is shaped to cover the complete spectrum of relevant expertises from chemistry, biochemistry, and vascular biology to clinical disciplines such as Radiology, Cardiology, Nephrology, and Pharmacology and includes a number of private partners, which not only ensures smooth translation of new findings into the clinical practice but also creates a scientific setting that encourages ESRs to think and act multidisciplinary and translational.

Visit the website for more information. 

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 722609.

Prof. Ilja Arts PI CARIM

Within the PI-program of Prof. Ilja Arts, Systems Medicine of Cardiometabolic Diseases, mathematical and computational modeling and complex data-analysis is used to increase our understanding of the molecular biology and physiology underlying cardiometabolic diseases. Rapid technological advances in the measurement of biomarkers and their use in human studies now enable us to study cardiometabolic disease from a systems biology perspective. 

Mathematical and computational modeling and complex data-analysis is important to get a quantitative understanding of human metabolism at a systems level, to predict individual responses in target tissues, to get better insight into disease heterogeneity, and to identify subgroups that have a desirable response to a particular intervention. This enables a biology-based approach to personalized health (P4 Medicine) for cardiometabolic diseases.

The modeling will be done in close collaboration with the Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology (MaCSBio) of which Prof. Ilja Arts is the Scientific Director. At MaCSBio mathematical and computational models and approaches to modelling are (further) developed and applied. The focus is on the integration of multi-scale data (genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, microbiome, clinical, lifestyle) from deep-phenotyped humans (healthy and diseased) at the whole body, organ, and intracellular level using genome scale metabolic and dynamical models, and pathway and network models. For more information contact Ilja Arts ( 


Paramount papers

The Janus face of HDL – good cholesterol may have some negative side effects

Based on decades of research in humans and animals, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) has gained its now well-established reputation as the “good cholesterol.” In contrast to low-density lipoprotein, which is responsible for depositing cholesterol in vessel walls, HDL removes cholesterol and decreases inflammation. However, HDL-raising therapies have produced disappointing results in recent clinical trials. The research group of Marjo Donners from CARIM’s Department of Pathology recently published a paper in the high impact journal Cell Metabolism, which may explain why.

This study showed that HDL, in contrast to its anti-inflammatory functions in endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells, exerts overt pro-inflammatory effects in macrophages, which are key immune cells in the atherosclerotic vessel wall. Similarly, macrophages taken from mice with elevated HDL levels showed clear signs of inflammation. HDL-mediated cholesterol depletion was shown to support the proper functioning of macrophage immune responses, i.e. HDL enhanced clearance of a bacterial infection. Although clearance of lipids and cellular debris may be beneficial in atherosclerosis, especially at early stages, exaggerated inflammation may be detrimental at later stages of atherosclerosis.

This paper is online available at: 

Who's new?!

Hello, my name is Sanne Brouns. I obtained both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Maastricht. During my master I did both my internships in the cardiovascular field; my junior project in the platelet field (UM) and the senior project more neutrophil-related at Sanquin in Amsterdam. I’m happy to be back in Maastricht to start my PhD at the Department of Biochemistry in the group of Prof. Johan Heemskerk. My project is focusing on the effect of specific heart valve coatings on blood coagulation.

My name is Bibian Tullemans. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science at the Fontys Hogeschool in Eindhoven in 2014, followed by my Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences here at the University of Maastricht in 2016. During this master, I gained knowledge and interest in the cardiovascular field through internships in the field of atherosclerosis as well as thrombosis and hemostasis at different departments within this university. After successfully obtaining my master, I started in November with my PhD at the Department of Biochemistry in the group of Prof. Johan Heemskerk. My research will mainly focus on the effects of a specific anti-cancer agent on platelet function. 

My name is Ploingarm Petsophonsakul, and I completed my Bachelor’s degree with first class honor in Medical Technology. After graduation, I worked for Roche Diagnostics (Thailand) Ltd. as a Clinical product specialist for one year. I then continued my Master studies in Molecular Bioengineering at the Technische Universität Dresden, Germany. Finally, my Master’s thesis on fragment-based drug discovery was performed at the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology, in Toulouse, France. I have recently started my PhD as part of the EVOluTION network (EU horizon 2020), in the group of Dr. Leon Schurgers. My research focus is on the effect of vitamin K in vascular smooth muscle cells and Aneurysm.

My name is Angelina Pavlic and my PhD research is focused on the investigation of exosome driven calcification of vascular smooth muscle cells, and development of the platform of small active molecules that are able to inhibit activation of proteins such as SMPD3, BMP2, and BMP4, and therefore suppress the calcification. I finished my Masters in Biological Chemistry at the University of Vienna, and performed the final research as the part of a project in fabrication of RNA microarray, using enzymatic approach. Prior to my Masters I studied Biochemistry at the University of Novi Sad and graduated in 2013.

Grant deadlines


NWO Veni- Deadline January 10, 2017
Click here for more information

Dr. E. Dekker Junior Postdoc - Deadline January 24, 2017
Click here for more information

Dr E. Dekker Arts in opleiding tot specialist - Deadline January 24, 2017
Click here for more information

ERC Consolidator grant - Deadline February 9, 2017
Click here for more information

Diabetes Fonds Fellowships - February 13, 2017
Click here for more information

CVON Eerder herkennen - Deadline March 14, 2017
Click here for more information

Goed Gebruik Geneesmiddelen - Deadline March 21, 2017
Click here for more information


Updated procedure AXA Post-Doctoral fellowship 2016-2017

Due to changes in the selection procedure by the AXA Research Fund, we have need forced to change the deadline for the internal selection procedure for the AXA Post-Doctoral fellowship 2016-2017 to May 8, 2017 at noon.

If you are interested in a fellowship of €130.000,- (for a period of maximum 2 years) for research that contributes to the knowledge and understanding of risks, than read the (updated) procedure and apply.
For more information contact your funding advisor.


January 13 - Joris Ector, MD, PhD, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
"Journey to the center of the hEART: 3D cardiac imaging anno 2017"

January 20 - Giuseppe Bianchi, MD, San Rafaele University Milano, Italy
"Unveiling causality in genotype-phenotype relationships by drug therapy"

January 27 - Rutger Hassink, MD, PhD, UMC Utrecht
"Idiopathic ventricular fibrillation"

February 3 - Michael Henein, MD, PhD, Umea University Sweden 
"LV cavity vs segmental dyssynchrony for better CRT response"

February 10 - Gérard Giraudon, MD, PhD,  directeur du centre de recherche Inria Sophia Antipolis Quebec Canada
"Left Atrial Isolation"

Starts at 7.45 am, Academic hospital Maastricht, Meeting room A3-B3, level 3
Breakfast included! Registration not necessary

Click here for an overview of all the CGRM lectures of the last quarter of 2016

Maastricht Consensus Conference on Thrombosis (MCCT) - February 22-24, 2017

The Maastricht Consensus Conference on Thrombosis (MCCT) takes place from February 22-24 in the Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Centre (MECC). The MCCT will be a hybrid meeting containing both active as well as more "passive" elements (intensive workshops, and plenary lectures). Consensus will be sought on future directions for research.

The Maastricht Consensus Conference on Thrombosis will be theme-focused and will involve clinicians, epidemiologists and basic scientists, who will jointly explore new avenues for research in the area of thrombosis and haemostasis. The Maastricht Consensus Conference on Thrombosis is a 3 day meeting, involving plenary lectures by prominent scientists and experts in the field on a chosen theme, followed by highly interactive, intensive workshops in which the interaction between the experienced scientists, PhD students and postdocs is used to explore gaps in research or knowledge on specific topics.

Click here for more information.

Symposia & events


Young@Heart talent day – Strategic Alliances, February 3, 2017
Click here for more information

Maastricht AF - Crossing Borders - February 8-10, 2017
Click here for more information

Maastricht Consensus Conference on Thrombosis (MCCT) - February 22-24, 2017
Click here for more information

27th Genetics Retreat - March 16-17, 2017
Click here for more information

Scientific Workshop “Cardiovascular Research @ Bayer”, Germany, March 23 – 25, 2017
Click here for more information

3-day course ‘Klinische predictiemodellen - theorie en praktijk’, May 8-10, 2017
Click here for more information

Revolution in Biomedicine summer programme Imperial College London - July 3-28, 2017
Click here for more information

2nd joint meeting of the European Society for Microcirculation (ESM) and European Vascular Biology Organisation (EVBO), May 29-June 1, 2017
Click here for more information 

Agenda KNAW January 2017

Academic events

41 Dies Natalis - Tuesday February 7

PhD Conferral Mike Jeurissen, Thursday January 12, 10.00 hours

Supervisors: Prof. R. Shiri-Sverdlov; Prof. J.F.C. Glatz
Co-supervisor: Dr M.M. Donners
Title: "The entanglement of NASH and Atherosclerosis; shared features of a macrophage-specific response"

PhD Conferral Gerardus Hendrikx, Thursday January 26, 14.00 hours
Supervisors: Prof. F.M. Mottaghy; Prof. M.J. Post
Co-supervisor: Dr M. Bauwens
Title: "Spect imaging of cardiovascular neovascularization"

PhD Conferral Georgina Palau Caballero, Friday January 27, 12.00 hours
Supervisor: Prof. T. Delhaas
Co-supervisors: Dr J. Lumens; Dr J. Walmsley
Title "In silico mechanistic assessment of imaging-based measures of cardiac (patho) physiology"

PhD Conferral Wijnand van Gent, Thursday February 2, 12.00 hours
Supervisor: Prof. C.H.A. Wittens
Co-supervisor: Dr E.G.J.M. Pierik, Isala Zwolle
Title: "Surgical Treatment of Venous Leg Ulcers"

PhD Conferral Suzanne Sallevelt, Friday February 3, 14.00 hours
Supervisors: Prof. H.J.M. Smeets; Prof. C.E.M. de Die-Smulders
Co-supervisor: Dr I.F.M. de Coo, EUR
Title: "Preventing the transmission of mitochondrial diseases"
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