15 December 2016

Two group leaders receive a grant for heart research

Back to news

Both Jeroen Bakkers and Eva van Rooij received a research grantĀ from the European network ERA-CVD – a network focused on heart disease research. A total amount of 2.5 million euro will be divided over 14 different research projects.

Jeroen Bakkers research project will focus on mechanisms of regenerative cardiomyocyte proliferation. The project of Eva van Rooij will focus on communication between cardiomyocytes and innate immune cells in failing hearts.

Ischemic heart disease, such as myocardial infarction, causes a massive loss of cardiomyocytes and leads to the formation of fibrotic scar tissue, which results in impaired cardiac function and ultimately leads to heart failure. Recently, it has been demonstrate that myocardium is naturally regenerated in the human heart. However, the rate of replacement is too low to repair large areas of damaged myocardium. Stimulating the very low intrinsic proliferation rate of cardiomyocytes is a promising strategy for cardiac repair in patients with heart failure. It is therefore imperative to better understand the signals that promote cardiomyocyte cell proliferation. To identify such signals we will use comparative approaches between zebrafish, where cardiomyocyte regeneration occurs naturally, and mice, where it does not. We will explore different possible reasons for the difference in the regenerative capacity of lower vertebrate versus mammals using a combination of novel and established techniques. Our goal is to develop regenerative medicine strategies in the adult mammalian heart based on endogenous cardiomyocyte renewal.

Learn more about Eva van Rooij & Jeroen Bakkers at their group pages.