CARIM Newsletter January 2023

View this email in your browser

This newsletter contains information on the following subjects:
  • Eline Kooi CARIM PhD Coordinator
  • Dekker grant Magdi Nagy
  • Dutch Heart Foundation grant for atrial fibrillation research
  • WCN Research Prize Matthijs Cluitmans 
  • Kootstra Talent Fellowship Rob Holtackers
  • CARIM successful in ZonMw Open Competition
  • New funding advisor CARIM: Gwynned de Looijer
  • Intakeloket Hiring external parties
  • Roadmaps scientific integrity and social safety
  • UMployee and CARIM
  • CARIM's telephone accessibility
  • Paramount Papers
  • Cardiovascular Grand Rounds Maastricht
  • Who's New?!
  • Academic Events
  • Lectures, symposia & events
  • Media Moments

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.

Eline Kooi PhD coordinator

As from 1 January, Eline Kooi succeeded Marc van Bilsen as PhD Coordinator of CARIM. We would like to thank Marc for his continuous and inspiring efforts to support and advise more than 500 PhD candidates throughout their PhD track. Marc was very much involved and dedicated to always get the best for his students, and those that have experienced Marc as their advisor have all very much appreciated him. Marc was actually the designer of what we now now as 'PhD-track', a successful CARIM initiative that was adopted by FHML. CARIM is grateful for all of Marc’s efforts, dedication and achievements. Thank you Marc, welcome Eline.

Dutch Heart Foundation Dekker grant Magdi Nagy

The Dutch Heart Foundation has awarded a Dr. E. Dekker postdoc grant of € 280,000 to Dr Magdi Nagy (Dept. of Biochemistry). With this personal research grant for talented scientists, she can conduct research into cardiovascular diseases in the coming years.

Magdi's research focuses on safer medicines for patients who have had a stroke. Many of them are prescribed medicines to prevent blood clots. Blood clots can lead to another cerebral infarction. However, these drugs have a nasty side effect. They can cause bleeding, sometimes even dangerous.

Click here for more information. 

Dutch Heart Foundation grant for atrial fibrillation research

What exactly are the underlying mechanisms that lead to the development of atrial fibrillation? And what causes someone to suffer more from the consequences of this heart rhythm disorder? The EmbRACE network will investigate this under the supervision Prof. Michiel Rienstra of the University Medical Center Groningen and Prof. Uli Schotten of CARIM. The Heart Foundation is subsidizing this research with an amount of €2.5 million. It is the follow-up to the successful RACE V study.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder. In the Netherlands, 360,000 people have atrial fibrillation; in addition, an estimated 80,000 people who do not yet know this about themselves. It can lead to complications such as stroke, heart failure and death. The risk of this increases if someone suffers more from the consequences of atrial fibrillation. It is therefore important to prevent this.

Addressing the underlying risk factors and disease processes is a key goal of the new research. The underlying mechanisms for the onset and progression of atrial fibrillation are complex and not yet fully understood. They may be important for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. Although it is not yet known exactly how the bosom becomes diseased, it is already known that high blood pressure, obesity, heart failure and diabetes are important risk factors. The research will therefore map out the various underlying mechanisms of atrial fibrillation, both in men and women.

More information about the research can be found here: and

WCN Research Prize Matthijs Cluitmans 

Matthijs Cluitmans (Dept. of Cardiology) received the WCN Research Prize 2022 during the annual WCN congress in Amsterdam. Matthijs pitched his 2021 Science Translational Medicine paper to the jury and an audience of ~200 cardiologists. His team’s work highlights the importance of (concealed) recovery abnormalities in patients who survived 'unexplained' sudden cardiac arrest. By combining noninvasive mapping with experiments and computer models, they improved the understanding of the trigger-substrate interaction leading to these arrhythmias. The full paper was published last year and can be found here:
The WCN is the Working Group Cardiological Centers Netherlands, which is an organization that binds all Cardiology centers (academic and peripheral) in this country. The WCN Research Prize is awarded to young scientific researchers, selected by a multi-disciplinary jury, to encourage cardiovascular research.


Kootstra Talent Fellowship Rob Holtackers

Last month, dr. ir. Rob Holtackers (Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine) won the Kootstra Talent Fellowship with his proposed study 'lnterventional cardiac MRI: a new strategy for improved diagnostics and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias'. His fellowship will be embedded within CARIM and has a duration of 18 months. The Kootstra Talent Fellowship aims to facilitate talented researchers to develop their own research ideas and CV, and subsequently help increase their chances of obtaining personal grants at external funding agencies.

CARIM researchers successful in ZonMw Open Competition

Three research teams coordinated by CARIM researchers are starting their projects funded with money from the Open Competition of grant provider ZonMw. Each research team will receive €750,000 on average.

AVF failure in renal failure - Prof. Andrew Baker
Worldwide, an estimated 3 million patients with end-stage renal disease are treated with hemodialysis for survival. Hemodialysis requires access to the blood vessels to transport the patient's blood to the dialysis machine. An arteriovenous fistula (AVF), in which an artery is directly connected to a vein, is therefore created surgically, usually in the arm. However, this intervention often fails, posing a huge clinical problem for this patient population. This problem will only increase in the coming years due to an increase in patients with diabetes and end-stage renal disease. Therapies to prevent AVF failure are lacking because it is unclear why the AVF fails. Therefore, Prof. Andrew Baker's team wants to better understand this process and develop therapies for AVF surgery to prevent AVF failure. This will improve the outcomes of AVF surgery.

New therapeutic targets for DCM? - Prof. Erik Biessen & Prof. Stephane Heymans
In the Netherlands, 80,000 people suffer from dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease that causes life-threatening arrhythmias and heart failure, often at a young age, with major emotional and economic consequences. Less than half of patients respond to current standard treatment. DCM is a heterogeneous disease, in which the hereditary form is characterized by metabolic changes. It is unclear whether these metabolic changes directly lead to fibrosis and inflammation, or indirectly, via certain cell types in the heart, the macrophage, known to control fibrosis, inflammation and heart function. Based on their expertise in macrophage biology, clinical DCM pathophysiology and knowledge of advanced single-cell technology, Prof. Erik Biessen and Prof. Stephane Heymans aim to define new therapeutic targets for treatment of genetic DCM.

Recovery process of the heart after infarction? - Dr Matthijs Blankesteijn
After a heart attack, part of the heart muscle cells are replaced by scar tissue. This scar tissue does not contribute to pump function, which can cause heart failure, a condition with a 5-year survival of only 50 percent. The core idea of the research team, led by Dr Matthijs Blankesteijn, is that the repair process of the heart after an infarction must be adjusted by reducing scarring and giving the heart's natural ability to repair the damage. Recent research in zebrafish shows that their heart has this natural ability to regenerate, preventing scarring. With a team of experts in the field of repair processes and biomaterials, Matthijs wants to develop a material that on the one hand supports the infarct area and thus prevents rupture, and on the other hand releases medicines to stimulate the natural repair process.

ZonMw Open Competition
The ZonMw Open Competition programme is specifically intended for researchers from two or more disciplines who promote excellent team science in a synergistic manner. The applications were therefore tested and ranked on these points on the basis of the criteria of relevance and quality. Because knowledge utilization and participation are also important criteria, all successful applications have a convincing plan for knowledge utilization, with well-considered plans for implementation and broad stakeholder participation. As of 2022, an extra 60 million euros will be structurally available for the Open Competitions of the four domains of NWO, including Medical Research and Healthcare Innovation (Source: ZonMw)

New funding advisor CARIM: Gwynned de Looijer

My name is Gwynned de Looijer and I have recently started as Senior Funding Advisor within the FHML Grants Office, looking after CARIM and M4I. Next to this dedicated research funding support and development work for the school, I will be focusing on ERC and incoming MSCA Fellowship applicants within the wider team of funding advisors. Last year, I was introduced to Maastricht University as Coordinator Research Support Office, after 15 years in the UK at the Universities of Durham, Edinburgh and Newcastle respectively, where I was responsible for EU and International Funding support across all faculties/colleges.

After my first degrees in political science and business management, I felt that university was not for me, only to later return with much enthusiasm as a mature student, resulting in a PhD in Theology and Religion (Dead Sea Scrolls) from Durham University. My monograph ‘The Qumran Paradigm’, which argues for a revisionist approach to the dominant hypotheses of a sect at Qumran, and a wider integration of the various voices found within the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Khirbet Qumran archaeological site, was published in 2015.

At CARIM, I will be a member of the Grants and Incentives Team, and from w/c Jan 9th, I will also be present on Wednesday mornings (from 9.00-14.00h) in office UNS 50 5.103 to offer advice on grant proposals, answer queries on funder priorities and requirements or just to have a general chat about suitable funding streams for your research ideas. I am very much looking forward to working with all of you and I hope to meet many of you in person in the upcoming months.

Intakeloket Hiring external parties

Do you ever hire external services? The Intakeloket Hiring externals supports faculties and service centers in assessing the employment relationship of externals (self-employed persons, one-man businesses and other legal forms). In that case, always have the employment relationship assessed in advance by the intake counter and prevent an additional claim or fine on your budget number!

Click here for more information.

Still have questions? Contact the TACS Finance team via this link.

Roadmaps for scientific integrity and social safety

Integrity is of great importance for the quality and reliability of scientific research. All staff and students must deal responsibly with ethical or social issues that pose a threat to scientific integrity. But what if you make a mistake or suspect others of consciously or unconsciously violating scientific integrity?

The FHML/Maastricht UMC+ Platform for Scientific Integrity (PSI) has launched three roadmaps for scientific integrity and social safety: one for PhD candidates, one for students and one for employees. Each roadmap provides instructions on how to act and who to turn to if you have questions about possible data leaks, scientific integrity, impartiality and social safety. Clicking on the links in the roadmap will take you to the website with more information about the relevant contact person and/or the procedure. Make your voice heard on these issues, and make it negotiable.

UMployee & CARIM

As you know, as from last month, UMployee, the new UM intranet, is live!
You might have noticed that you no longer received the UM News and FHML Flash. UMployee is now your source of information from UM and FHML, e.g. procedures commuting allowances and hybrid working, multi-factor authentication and UM award nomination. Please check UMployee regularly to not miss any information and update your profile. In the beginning of next month, CARIM will organise photo sessions to facilitate this.
What does this mean for CARIM and its communication?
For now, we will continue with the CARIM newsletters and funding alerts, but some information will be put on UMployee as well. In the future, UMployee will replace at least part of the newsletter and funding alert. We have created a CARIM group and added you as members. Please have a look and inform us if you don’t have access, or join the group yourself. The group is open for you, which means that you can post information. Please keep this limited to work related issues, such as events, prizes, publications etc.. If you’d like to use UMployee for other matters, or start a group, please contact us and we will help you with this.
In the upcoming months, the connection with the (intranet of) Maastricht UMC+ will be discussed, as this is one of the wishes of FHML. Please let us know if you’d like to be involved in this.

CARIM's telephone accessibility

Since December, the CARIM office has switched to digital telephony. This means that we can no longer be reached with the abbreviated numbers called from the hospital. We kindly ask you to call bureau CARIM with the full number 043-3881647.
In the near future, all of UM will switch to digital telephony, so you may also encounter this problem in other departments.

Paramount Papers

Advanced glycation endproducts in diabetes-related macrovascular complications: focus on methylglyoxal

Diabetes is associated with vascular injury and the onset of macrovascular complications. Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) and the AGE precursor methylglyoxal (MGO) have been identified as key players in establishing the relationship between diabetes and vascular injury. While most research has focused on the link between AGEs and vascular injury, less is known about the effects of MGO on vasculature. In this review, we focus on the mechanisms linking AGEs and MGO to the development of atherosclerosis. AGEs and MGO are involved in many stages of atherosclerosis progression. However, more research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms underlying these effects. Nevertheless, AGEs and MGO could represent valid therapeutic targets for the macrovascular complications of diabetes.

Schalkwijk CG, Micali LR, Wouters K. Advanced glycation endproducts in diabetes-related macrovascular complications: focus on methylglyoxal. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Nov 26:S1043-2760(22)00213-2. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2022.11.004. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36446668.

Click here for the full publication.


Genetic analyses of the electrocardiographic QT interval and its components identify additional loci and pathways

The QT interval is an electrocardiographic measure representing the sum of ventricular depolarization and repolarization, estimated by QRS duration and JT interval, respectively. QT interval abnormalities are associated with potentially fatal ventricular arrhythmia. Using genome-wide multi-ancestry analyses (>250,000 individuals) we identify 177, 156 and 121 independent loci for QT, JT and QRS, respectively, including a male-specific X-chromosome locus. Using gene-based rare-variant methods, we identify associations with Mendelian disease genes. Enrichments are observed in established pathways for QT and JT, and previously unreported genes indicated in insulin-receptor signalling and cardiac energy metabolism. In contrast for QRS, connective tissue components and processes for cell growth and extracellular matrix interactions are significantly enriched. We demonstrate polygenic risk score associations with atrial fibrillation, conduction disease and sudden cardiac death. Prioritization of druggable genes highlight potential therapeutic targets for arrhythmia. Together, these results substantially advance our understanding of the genetic architecture of ventricular depolarization and repolarization.

Young WJ, Lahrouchi N, Isaacs A, Mifsud B, Newton-Cheh C, Munroe PB, Genetic analyses of the electrocardiographic QT interval and its components identify additional loci and pathways. Nat Commun. 2022 Sep 1;13(1):5144. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-32821-z. PMID: 36050321; PMCID: PMC9436946.

Click here for the full publication

Cardiovascular Grand Rounds Maastricht

13 January - Enrico Ammirati (MD, PhD) Niguarda Hospital, Milano
'Diagnosis and treatment of acute myocarditis'

27 January - Andrew Baker (PhD) MUMC+ Pathology
'Advanced therapies to prevent pathological vascular remodelling'

10 february - Bianca Rocca (MD, PhD) Catholic University, Rome 
'Personalized antiplatelet therapy'

8.00-9.00 AM online and on-site

ZOOM-link for all meetings:
Meeting ID: 972 2487 2025
Password: 678252

Click here for the upcoming lectures.

The steering committee for the Cardiovascular Grand Rounds consists of CARIM staff members of the 3 divisions (Heart, Vessels and Blood) and includes Renske Olie, Sébastien Foulquier, Pieter Goossens, Jordi Heijman, Rory Koenen, Blanche Schroen, Julie Staals and Kristiaan Wouters. If you have suggestions for a specific topic or speaker, please contact any of the committee members and they will assist in scheduling the lecture with you.

Who's new ?

Academic Events

PhD conferral Rachel Schreurs, 18 January, 13.00 hours, MBB 4-6
Supervisors: Dr A.J. ten Cate-Hoek, Dr M.A. Joore, Prof. H. ten Cate
Title: Towards improved organisation of care. Improving compression therapy for patients with DVT and CVD (CEAP3-5)

PhD conferral Sibel Altintas, 18 January, 16.00 hours, MBB 4-6
Supervisors: Prof. H.J.G.M. Crijns, Prof. J.E. Wildberger
Co-supervisor: Dr B.L.J.H. Kietselaer
Title: Mechanisms of cardiovascular disease as defined by cardiac computed tomography

PhD conferral Mirko Belliato, 19 January, 10.00 hours, MBB 4-6
Supervisors: Prof. R. Lorussa, Prof. J.G. Maessen
Title: The Use of Extracorporeal Life Support Systems in Patients with Acute Respiratory Insufficiency

PhD conferral William van Doorn, 20 January, 13.00 hours, MBB 4-6
Supervisor: Prof. O. Bekers
Co-supervisor: Dr S.J.R. Meex
Title: Rethinking biomarkers. Innovations in laboratory medicine

PhD conferral Meike Ploeg, 24 January, 13.00 hours, MBB 4-6
Supervisors: Prof. F.W. Prinzen, Dr F.A. van Nieuwenhoven
Title: Stretch, stiffness, sensing, signaling & speed. Mechanical activation of Cardiac Fibroblasts

All PhD defences can be followed online as well via

Lectures, symposia & events

FAIR Coffee Lecture: “Data Stewardship Wizard: Selecting suitable FAIR practices early in a project” - 11 January 2023
European Society for Microcirculation Conference 2023 - deadline call for abstracts 15 january 2023. Event 24-27 April 2023
Vascular Rounds Maastricht UMC+ '(Anti)stolling: een update' - 28 February 2023

Upcoming School Council meetings:
26 January: 13.00-15.00h
11 May: 13.00-15.00h
12 October: 13.00-15.00h

KNAW agenda
Brightlands news

Media Moments 2/1 Rianne Letschert (CvB) en Chahinda Ghossein-Doha (CARIM) zijn twee van de vijf Limburgse genomineerden voor de Vrouw in de Media Award 2022. Met deze award worden vrouwelijke experts en rolmodellen aangemoedigd meer zichtbaar in de media te zijn en redacties gestimuleerd vrouwen vaker een podium te bieden. Dagblad De Limburger bericht. Stemmen kan nog tot en met 14 januari via deze link -
Copyright © CARIM Maastricht University, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward