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Research group/lab

Epidemiology of Cardiometabolic Disorders

Epidemiology of Cardiometabolic disorders, with focus on sex- and gender-specific aspects, throughout the spectrum; from risk factor development to disease onset to its prognosis.

About our research group/lab

Our research

Cardiovascular risk prediction and stratification

Prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes remains feasible yet suboptimal. The common approach in primary prevention is to identify individuals at high enough risk for cardiovascular events to justify targeting them for more intensive lifestyle and/or interventions. This line focuses on implications of prevention guidelines at population level and also investigates whether newer risk markers for cardiovascular and diabetes risk prediction and stratification could improve the risk predictions beyond the risk prediction algorithms that form the basis for the current guidelines, and  at a population level. Outcomes under study include coronary heart disease, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes mellitus. 

Cardiovascular imaging

  To improve our understating of the atherosclerosis process and, ultimately, develop more efficient primary prevention strategies for cardiovascular disease, studying atherosclerosis process across its development is of particular importance. This line focuses on non-invasive imaging of atherosclerosis across its spectrum; including ultrasound assessment of carotid arteries; measures of arterial stiffness; computed tomography (CT) scan of aortic valve and arch, coronary and extra- and intra-cranial carotid arteries; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of carotid plaque components. This approach will enable us to identify the risk factors implicated in disease initiation and progression in its subclinical phase and before the abrupt clinical onset of the disease. 

Cardiovascular omics & Big data 

Genomic, metabolomics, and proteomic approaches promise to revolutionize our understanding of cardiovascular disease initiation and progression. This improved appreciation of pathophysiology could eventually be translated into avenues of clinical utility. Omics-based cardiovascular prediction carries the potential to refine diagnostic sub-classifications and improve risk assessment tools which, in turn, allow for earlier and more targeted intervention. Integration of clinical information, stable and dynamic omics, and molecular phenotyping serves to pave the way for  personalized medicine. To this end and to translate this into useful applications for improved diagnosis, prediction, and prognostication, bioinformatics will play a crucial role. 

Sex- and Gender-specific aspects of cardiovascular disease 

There is a substantial difference in the burden of different forms of cardiovascular disease between women and men. Despite the growing recognition regarding the equal importance of cardiovascular disease for both men and women and the need for tailored prevention and intervention strategies, our knowledge of sex- and gender-specific markers remains limited. This line focuses on improving our understanding of sex- and gender- specific features of atherosclerosis, which would in turn translate to devising more efficient prediction schemes and  prevention strategies.

Key Publications

Complete overview can be found at: 

Overview publications

10 Selected publications for the past 3 years:

Lifetime risk and multimorbidity of non-communicable diseases and disease-free life expectancy in the general population: A population-based cohort study.
PLoS Medicine. 2019;16:e1002741.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the development of atrial fibrillation.
International Journal of Cardiology. 2019; 276: 118-124.  

GWAS and colocalization analyses implicate carotid intima-media thickness and carotid plaque loci in cardiovascular outcomes.
Nature Communications. 2018; 9: 5141.

Multi-ethnic genome-wide association study of atrial fibrillation.
Nature genetics. 2018; 50: 1225-33.

Thyroid Function and the Risk of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality: The Rotterdam Study.
Circulation Research. 2017;121:1392-400.

Epicardial Fat Volume and the Risk of Atrial Fibrillation in the General Population Free of Cardiovascular Disease.
JACC Cardiovascular Imaging. 2017; 10: 1405-1407.

Prevalence and prognostic implications of coronary artery calcification in low-risk women: a meta-analysis.
JAMA. 2016; 316: 2126-2134. 

Association of age at onset of menopause and time since onset of menopause with cardiovascular outcomes, intermediate vascular traits, and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
JAMA Cardiology. 2016.

Sex steroids, sex hormone-binding globulin and cardiovascular health in men and postmenopausal women: the Rotterdam Study. T
he Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. 2016; 101: 2844-2852.

Multiethnic Exome-Wide Association Study of Subclinical Atherosclerosis.
Circulation Cardiovascular Genetics. 2016; 9: 511-520. 

Lifetime risk of developing impaired glucose metabolism and eventual progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study.
Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. 2016; 4: 44-51.


Department of Radiology

Department of Cardiology

Department of Internal Medicine

Genetic Laboratory of Erasmus MC

Department of Gynecology

Funding & Grants

European Commission grant
H2020 (H2020-JTI-IMI2-2019-17-two-stage) 
‘Stratification of Obese Phenotypes to Optimize Future Obesity Therapy (SOPHIA)’

European Commission grant
H2020 (H2020-SC1-2019-Single-Stage-RTD)
‘Dynamic longitudinal exposome trajectories in cardiovascular and metabolic non-communicable diseases (LONGITOOLS)’

Erasmus MC (Mrace) grant 
‘Towards a novel immunothrombosis signature for natural course of atrial fibrillation among women and men’

The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) Implementation grant 
‘Implementatie leidraad microvasculair coronairlijden in de
cardiologische praktijk’

CSC grant
‘Global cardiometabolic risk profile and atrial fibrillation among women and men from general population’

CSC grant
‘Global cardiometabolic risk profile in diabetes; a gender specific approach’
The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) Gender and Health grant  
‘Size Matters’

The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) Veni Grant 
‘Sex differences in the risk factor profile for atherosclerosis in various vessels’ 

National Institute of health (NIH) grant 
‘Metabolomic signature of coronary artery disease associated phenotypes’

European Commission grant 
H2020 (H2020-ICT-2016-2017) ‘Big data for medical analytics (BigMedalytics)

Career opportunities

Our team

Principle Investigator:

Maryam Kavousi, Dr. m.kavousi@erasmusmc.nl

Management Assistant:

Mirjam Roosen-Niesing, Ms. m.roosen-niesing@erasmusmc.nl

Postdoctoral scientists:

Fariba Ahmadizar, Dr. f.ahmadizar@erasmusmc.nl
Maxime Bos, Dr. m.m.bos@erasmusmc.nl 

PhD students:

Elif Aribas, Dr. e.aribas@erasmusmc.nl 
Hoyan Wen, Dr. k.wen@erasmusmc.nl 
Cindy Meun, Dr. c.meun@erasmusmc.nl 
Banafsheh Arshi, Drs. b.arshi@erasmusmc.nl 
Sven Geurts, Dr. s.geurts@erasmusmc.nl 
Janine van der Toorn, Drs. j.vandertoorn@erasmusmc.nl 
Marlou Limpens, Drs. m.limpens@erasmusmc.nl 
Martijn Tilly, Dr. m.tilly@erasmusmc.nl 
Zuolin Lu, Drs. z.lu@erasmusmc.nl 
Kan Wang, Drs. k.wang@erasmusmc.nl 
Fang Zhu, Drs. f.zhu@erasmusmc.nl 

Master Students:

Angelo Pezzullo 
Hamid Aliahmad
Maurits Roos