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The Van Rooij group aims to delineate signaling pathways relevant for heart repair and remodeling that can eventually lead to effective treatment options to minimize the loss of cardiomyocytes and/or reverse the adverse remodeling processes in the diseased heart.
A major challenge in the field of cardiac biology is to decipher the relevance of different signaling mechanisms that are relevant during disease. Using mouse genetics in combination with novel sequencing technologies our lab is able to identify key cell types or candidate factors important for specific remodeling and repair processes of the heart. These factors are studied in detail by molecular gain and loss-of-function studies, applying both genetics and oligonucleotide-based approaches.
Specific areas of focus in our lab are:
In response to stress the heart undergoes a remodeling response to cope with the increase in workload. Under conditions of physiological stress, like exercise, the heart shows a reversible, beneficial remodeling response, during which the heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) enlarge while the cardiac function remains preserved. However, under pathological conditions, such as myocardial infarction or hypertension, the heart exerts a maladaptive, pathological remodeling response, which is detrimental for cardiac function.
Our lab makes use of animal models of either physiological or pathological remodeling to study the underlying molecular pathways of these remodeling responses. Improving our understanding of the factors involved in these processes might aid us in developing new and better therapies.
Cardiac injury induces the loss of viable heart muscle cells, cardiomyocytes. While the heart is notoriously resistant to repair, considerable evidence suggests that the fundamental biology of the myocardium provides multiple opportunities to stimulate or boost these repair mechanisms. Our lab is focused on enhancing these endogenously present repair mechanisms as well as defining new ways to restore more viable tissue after damage. We do this by studying new cells types in the heart that can contribute to the generation of new myocytes and by defining the mechanisms that can trigger cardiomyocyte division upon damage. Identification of new factors, genes or epigenetic regulators involved in heart repair might ultimately aid to improve cardiac integrity upon damage to maintain a better cardiac function after an infarct.
While novel treatment opportunities for heart disease, like microRNA therapeutics, are often effective, systemic delivery induces a low cardiac exposure and can lead to undesirable effects in other tissues. For this reason, our lab aims to explore localized delivery options to increase cardiac delivery while preventing unwanted side effects. We do this through the identification of novel cardiac-restricted receptors to serve as drug-conjugates. Additionally, we explore the use of delivery vehicles, such as hydrogels and buffers, to enhance delivery of therapies to the heart.
Many types of heart disease are caused by a genetic disorder. While many of these diseases are caused by a specific mutation, often very little is known about the molecular pathways that are responsible for the remodeling responses that characterize the disease. Our lab uses both cardiomyoctes derived from human stem cells (iPS cell-derived cardiomyocytes) and mouse models harboring the human mutation to study which exact changes occur during the onset and development of the disease. By doing so we aim to contribute to the development of improved treatment options for patients suffering from this disease.
Lacraz GPA, Junker JP, Gladka MM, Molenaar B, Scholman KT, Vigil-Garcia M, Versteeg D, de Ruiter H, Vermunt MW, Creyghton MP, Huibers MMH, de Jonge N, van Oudenaarden A, van Rooij E.
Johansen AK, Molenaar B, Versteeg D, Leitoguinho AR, Demkes CJ, Spanjaard B, de Ruiter H, Akbari Moqadam FA, Kooijman L, Zentilin L, Giacca M, van Rooij E.
Gladka MM, Molenaar B, de Ruiter H, Versteeg D, Lacraz GPA, van der Elst S, Huibers MMH, van Oudenaarden A, van Rooij E.
Eding JE, Demkes CJ, Lynch JM, Seto AG, Montgomery RL, Semus HM, Jackson AL, Isabelle M, Chimenti S, van Rooij E.
Hullinger TG, Montgomery RL, Seto AG, Dickinson BA, Semus HM, Lynch JM, Dalby CM, Robinson K, Stack C, Latimer PA, Hare JM, Olson EN, van Rooij E.
Van Rooij E.
Montgomery RL, Yu G, Latimer PA, Stack C, Robinson K, Dalby CM, Kaminski N, van Rooij E
Montgomery RL, Hullinger TG, Semus HM, Dickinson BA, Seto AG, Lynch JM, Stack C, Latimer PA, Olson EN, van Rooij E.
van Rooij E, Sutherland LB, Qi X, Richardson JA, Hill J, Olson EN.
Eva van Rooij is group leader at the Hubrecht Institute and professor of Molecular Cardiology at the University Medical Center Utrecht. Her group aims to unveil the molecular signaling pathways that are relevant for cardiac disease. The Van Rooij group combines mouse genetics and models of heart disease with novel sequencing technologies such as single-cell sequencing and Tomo-seq to identify key cell types or candidate factors important for specific remodeling and repair processes of the heart. The ultimate goal is to identify pathways that can eventually lead to effective treatment options to minimize the loss of cardiomyocytes and/or reverse the adverse remodeling processes in the diseased heart.
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Scientific advisory board member miRagen Therapeutics
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Anne Katherine Johansen
To work on: In-depth sequencing technologies to gain molecular insights in the healthy and diseased heart
Description: Recent developments in RNA amplification strategies provide the opportunity to use small amounts of input RNA for genome-wide sequencing. Recently we were able to obtain in-depth sequencing profiles from both healthy and diseased cardiac cell types. Using this knowledge, we were able to identify changes in cell type composition and transcriptome heterogeneity across cells of the same type.
The candidate for this project will work with these new methods like single-cell and/or tomo-sequencing to obtain datasets to identify and unravel molecular mechanisms that underlie cardiac disease and remodeling processes. Mouse genetics and relevant human samples will be used to study the functional relevance of any newly identified factors and pathways.
We are looking for a highly motivated and ambitious Postdoc that is driven by curiosity and has a strong interest in a molecular understanding of biology. We are especially interested in applicants that are excited to work in a highly collaborative and multidisciplinary environment. We are open to applicants with a variety of backgrounds, including cell biology, biochemistry and biophysics.
If you are interested in learning more about the available position(s) in the lab, please send an email to Eva van Rooij, including a CV (with grades), a coverletter and names and contact information of 3 references.