CARIM Dissertation Award for Dr. Mark Hazebroek

Mark Hazebroek was awarded the CARIM Dissertation Award as well as the runner-up Eindhoven Dissertation prize (Netherlands Heart Institute & Dutch Society for Cardiology, 2018) for his exceptional thesis entitled ‘“Unraveling the origins of dilated cardiomyopathy: How genes, viruses, toxic, metabolic, electric and autoimmune disorders interact to cause dilated cardiomyopathy”. In addition, he received the Kootstra Post-doc Talent Fellowship to continue his research for at least 1 year in both Maastricht and London.


PHD Grant for Ilona Cuijpers

Ilona Cuijpers recently won the prestigious PhD grant from the most important Belgian funding agency, Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen (fund for scientific education Flanders). During the next years, Ilona will investigate the role of cardiac microvasculature in the development in Heart Failure with preserved ejection fraction. This particular type of heart failure is an emerging clinical health problem due to the alarmingly increasing prevalence and absence of specific treatments. Ilona’s research will contribute to the understanding of the pathology underlying heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and will identify novel therapeutic targets.

Ilona has also recently won two travel grants from the prestigious European Society of Cardiology; to attend and present at the Basic Science Summer school in 2017 at the Holland Heart House, Sophia Antipolis, France and another for the Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology meeting in Vienna in 2018.



CARIM Poster Prize for Job Verdonschot

Job Verdonschot won the poster prize at the 2018 CARIM day held on 21st November for his excellent poster entitled “Titin cardiomyopathy leads to altered mitochondrial energetics, increased fibrosis and long-term life-threatening arrhythmias.


CVON RECONNECT talent program for Emma Louise Robinson

Emma Louise Robinson was been awarded a CVON RECONNECT Talent Program research grant. Emma will join this exciting new consortium (CVON2017) and work together with other major Dutch academic medical centers, in particular with teams from Erasmus MC Rotterdam and UMC Utrecht. 

Emma’s research will reveal the functional epigenetic changes in the different cell types of the heart and vasculature that underlie the pathophysiology of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Her aim is to identify new biomarkers for early diagnosis and targets for effective therapies for this poorly understood and heterogeneous condition, all the while tailoring her research to account for the sex differences in prevalence, disease pathology and response to treatment and environmental triggers.

New CVON grant. Eearly-HFPEF

Het Maastrichtse hartfalen-onderzoeksteam onder leiding van prof. dr. Stephane Heymans heeft een miljoen euro subsidie van de Nederlandse Hartstichting verworven. Samen met onderzoekers van de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam gaan ze de komende vijf jaar op zoek naar vroege voortekenen van een specifieke vorm van hartfalen die veel voorkomt bij vrouwen. "De samenwerking tussen de afdeling Cardiologie van het Maastricht Hart+Vaat Centrum en de universitaire onderzoekschool CARIM werpt wederom zijn vruchten af", aldus professor Heymans. We zijn een sterk team.

The Maastricht heart failure research team, led by Professor Stephane Heymans, was awarded a million-euro grant from the Nederlandse Hartstichting (Dutch Heart Foundation). 
Together with researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, they will spend the next five years researching the early indicators of a specific form of heart failure that is common among women. 'The collaboration between the Cardiology Department at Maastricht UMC+ and the CARIM research institute is once again paying off,' says Professor Heymans. 'We're a formidable team.' When the heart starts to lose its elasticity, the muscle has trouble relaxing, resulting in higher blood pressure in the heart and lungs. This can lead to shortness of breath and heart failure. This particular type of heart failure, known as HFPEF, is more common in women aged 65 and older and people with obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and/or kidney failure. In many patients, this loss of elasticity has progressed for several years before symptoms occur. At the moment, the disease is untreatable and irreversible. Early detection is therefore important to prevent unnecessary suffering. Early warning signs This is exactly what UM researchers Anna Papageorgiou and Mathijs Blankesteijn plan to research under the supervision of Professor Heymans and Dr Vanessa van Empel. They hope to uncover the early warning signs, such as biomarkers, that could indicate a decline in heart health. Preclinical diastolic dysfunction (pDD) is a condition that causes HFPEF in thirty percent of patients. Identifying pDD is an important objective of the study. The multidisciplinary project group will study the predictive biomarkers and other patient characteristics that could help detect pDD at an early stage and contribute to the development of tailored treatment.

Awards for two young heart failure researchers

Two Maastricht researchers recently won prestigious awards at the world's biggest heart failure conference, Heart Failure 2016, organised by the European Society of Cardiology. Dr Ward Heggermont and Dr Mark Hazebroek, both researchers and practicing medical doctors, were two of the award recipients at the four-day conference in Florence, which was attended by well over six thousand participants. Dr Ward Heggermont won first place in the category 'Basic Research'. He found that a tiny functional RNA fragment, microRNA-146a, plays an important role in the energy metabolism of the failing heart. One of the characteristics of a failing heart is impaired energy metabolism. The micro-RNA fragment was found to suppress a citric acid enzyme (DLST), a discovery that requires further research but may prove useful in the development of targeted therapy for heart failure in the future. Dr Mark Hazebroek placed second in the European Society of Cardiology's Young Investigator Award. Hazebroek is involved in research on genetic mutations in patients with an enlarged heart, also known as dilated cardiomyopathy. He compared these patients with a group of patients in an earlier stage of the disease and found that genetic mutations could lead to arrhythmias and premature death in both groups. These findings have potential consequences for preventative treatment strategies, such as an implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD). Both researchers work under the supervision of Professor Stephane Heymans at the CARIM research school in Maastricht.

Landmark paper on gene-environmental interactions in dilated cardiomyopathy patients

The group of Stephane Heymans has published out of their Maastricht Cardiomyopathy Registry a sample of 214 purely dilated cardiomyopathy patients. This study reveals that the interaction between gene mutations and the acquired/environmental factors (viruses/inflammation/toxic) are predicting outcome, where gene mutations or acquired triggers do not predict outcome. It has been published in JACC and commented by Prof. Fuster

Outstanding achievement award nomination

Stephane Heymans, Professor of Cardiomyopathies, has been nominated to receive an Outstanding Achievement Award by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Council for Basic Cardiovascular Science.These awards honour basic researchers with outstanding accomplishments in the early stage of their career.
Professor Heymans will receive his award at the ESC Congress in September 2015.

HFA Young investigator award for Mark Hazebroek

Mark Hazebroek has got the prestigious Young Investigator Award Clinical Research during the annual meeting of the "European Heart Failure Association van de ESC."  He presented his work on the “Prognostic relevance of gen-environmental interactions in dilated cardiomyopathy patients: applying the MOGES classification.”

Faces of science KNAW

You can now watch Marieke talk about her research, as part of the “ Faces of Science”  initiative of the KNAW en de jonge akademie.

Bangalore Projects

Prof.dr. Stephane Heymans intitiated new clinical and research projects at different institutions in Bangalore, including the Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre and Narayana Hrudayalaya Multispecialty Hospital. His mains scientific collaboratos are Prof.dr. Paul Salins and Prof.dr. Arkasubhra Ghosh at the research department, with dr. Samarth Shetty as a possible first MD, PhD student.
The research projects include discovery of novel therapeutic targets in heart failure, ocular diseases and related co-morbidities.

Project homage FP7 cooperation by Blanche Schroen and Stephane Heymans accepted

Blanche Schroen and Stephane Heymans just got the excellent news that the European project proposal "Homage" (FP7 cooperation), coordinated by Faiez Zannad from Paris, has been accepted.  Their group has a major contribution in this project, called "Heart 'omics in AGEing" for the validation of -'omics-based biomarkers for diseases affecting the elderly". They will participate as both clinical and preclinical partner

VIDI 2013 for dr. Blanche Schroen


Dr. Blanche Schroen (Cardiologie) ontvangt maximaal € 800.000 om een vernieuwende onderzoekslijn te ontwikkelen en een eigen onderzoeksgroep te bouwen. Zij ontvangt een Vidi uit de Vernieuwingsimpuls van de Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO), bestaande uit Veni, Vidi en Vici.

Immuuncellen in het hart ontmaskerd

Ondanks de aanwezigheid van immuuncellen in gezonde en zieke harten, is hun bijdrage aan het (dis)functioneren van de hartspier onderbelicht. De onderzoekers vonden dat recent-ontdekte niet-coderende genen zoals “mascRNA” immuuncelgedrag aansturen. Onderzocht wordt of mascRNA in immuuncellen bijdraagt aan hartfalen.