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Dirk-Jan Duncker
Principal Investigator

Prof. dr. D.J.G.M. (Dirk-Jan) Duncker

Professor of Experimental Cardiology

  • Department
  • Department of Cardiology
  • Focus area
  • Experimental Cardiology
Contact   External Profile



Dirk-Jan Duncker MD PhD is Professor of Experimental Cardiology at the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Within the Department of Cardiology, he heads the section Experimental Cardiology which is focused on education and on basic and translational research of cardiovascular disease. His research interests include the regulation of coronary blood flow and cardiac function in health as well as in a variety of cardiovascular disorders, including metabolic disorders, ischaemic heart disease, cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.

Field(s) of expertise

Cardiovascular physiology of cardiac function, coronary blood flow regulation and physical exercise; Cardiovascular pathophysiology of metabolic dysregulation, ischaemic heart disease, cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.

Education and career

Dirk-Jan Duncker studied Medicine at Erasmus University Rotterdam, starting in 1979. Following his MSc degree in 1984, he interrupted his medical studies to obtain a PhD degree in Pharmacology in 1988 (promotor: Prof. dr. Pramod R. Saxena) and completed his MD training in 1989. From 1989 to 1991 he worked as a Post-Doctorate Research Fellow in the Laboratory for Experimental Cardiology at Erasmus MC (supervisor: Prof. dr. Pieter D. Verdouw), and subsequently from 1991 to 1994 in the Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, at the University of Minnesota from 1991-1994 (supervisor Prof. dr. Robert J. Bache). In 1994, he returned to Rotterdam, where he was appointed Associate Professor in 2000, and Professor of Experimental Cardiology in 2003.


Selection of textbook chapters:

  1. Laughlin MH, Korthuis R, Duncker DJ & Bache RJ. Regulation of blood flow to cardiac and skeletal muscle during exercise. In: Regulation and Integration of Multiple Systems During Exercise. American Physiological Society Handbook Section 12. Oxford Press. Eds: Rowell LB and Shepherd JT. Chapter 16, pp 705 769, 1996.
  2. Duncker DJ. Fysiologie van het hart. In: Cardiologie, Eds: E van der Wall, F van de Werf, F. Zijlstra; Bohn Stafleu & van Loghum, Houten, 2008.
  3. Duncker DJ & Canty Jr JM. Coronary Blood Flow and Myocardial Ischemia. In Braunwald’s Heart Disease 11th Edition, Eds: Zipes, Libby, Bonow, Mann, Tomaselli. Elsevier 2018, Ch. 57, pp 1069-1094.
  4. Duncker DJ, Bache RJ, Merkus D & Laughlin MH. Exercise and the Coronary Circulation. In Muscle and Exercise Physiology, Ed J. Zoladz; Elsevier 2019. Chapter 22.
  5. Gielen S, Laughlin MH & Duncker DJ. Vascular Remodeling. In The ESC Textbook of Sports Cardiology 1st Edition, Eds: Pelliccia, Heidbuchel, Corrado, Borjesson & Sharma. Oxford University Press 2019, Ch. 1.2.4.

Selection of original publications: 

  1. Duncker DJ, Stubenitsky R & Verdouw PD. Autonomic control of vasomotion in the porcine coronary circulation during treadmill exercise: Evidence for feed-forward ß-adrenergic control. Circ Res 1998;82:1312-1322.
  2. Jones SP, Greer JJ, Van Haperen R, Duncker DJ, De Crom R & Lefer DJ. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase overexpression attenuates congestive heart failure in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2003;100:4891-4896.
  3. Van der Velden J, Merkus D, Klarenbeek BR, James AT, Boontje NM, Dekkers DHW, Stienen GJM, Lamers JMJ, Duncker DJ. Alterations in Ca2+-handling and myofilament Ca2+-sensitivity contribute to left ventricular dysfunction in pigs early after myocardial infarction. Circ Res. 2004;95:e85-e95.
  4. de Waard MC, van der Velden J, Bito V, Deckers D, de Crom R, Stienen GJ, Sipido KR, Lamers JM, Duncker DJ. Early exercise training normalizes myofilament function and attenuates left ventricular pump dysfunction in mice with a large myocardial infarction. Circ Res. 2007;100:1079-1088.
  5. Sorop O, Merkus D, de Beer VJ, Houweling B, Pistea A, McFalls EO, Boomsma F, van Beusekom HM, van der Giessen WJ, van Bavel E, Duncker DJ. Functional and structural adaptations of coronary microvessels distal to a chronic coronary artery stenosis. Circ Res. 2008; 102:795-803.
  6. Kuster DW, Merkus D, Kremer A, van IJcken WF, de Beer VJ, Verhoeven AJ, Duncker DJ. Left ventricular remodeling in swine after myocardial infarction: a transcriptional genomics approach. Basic Res Cardiol. 2011;106:1269-1281.
  7. Yetgin T, Uitterdijk A, te Lintel Hekkert M, Merkus D, Krabbendam-Peters I, van Beusekom HM, Falotico RA, Serruys PW, Manintveld OC, van Geuns RJM, Zijlstra F & Duncker DJ, Limitation of Infarct Size and No-Reflow by Intracoronary Adenosine Depends Critically on Dose and Duration. JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2015;8:1990-1999.
  8. Bender SB, de Beer VJ, Tharp DL, Bowles DK, Laughlin MH, Merkus D, Duncker DJ. Severe familial hypercholesterolemia impairs the regulation of coronary blood flow and oxygen supply during exercise. Basic Res Cardiol. 2016;111:61.
  9. Sorop O, Heinonen I, van Kranenburg M, van de Wouw J, de Beer VJ, Nguyen TN, Octavia Y, van Duin RWB, Stam K, van Geuns RJ, Wielopolski PA, Krestin GP, van den Meiracker AH, Verjans R, van Bilsen M, Danser AHJ, Paulus WJ, Cheng C, Linke  WA, Joles JA, Verhaar MC, van der Velden J, Merkus D, Duncker DJ. Multiple common co-morbidities produce left ventricular diastolic dysfunction associated with coronary microvascular dysfunction, oxidative stress and myocardial stiffening. Cardiovasc Res. 2018;114:954-964.
  10. van de Wouw J, Sorop O, van Drie RWA, van Duin RWB, Nguyen ITN, Joles JA, Verhaar MC, Merkus D, Duncker DJ. Perturbations in myocardial perfusion and oxygen balance in swine with multiple risk factors: a novel model of ischemia and no obstructive coronary artery disease. Basic Res Cardiol. 2020;115:21.

Selection of review & position papers:

  1. Duncker DJ & Bache RJ. Regulation of Coronary Blood Flow during Exercise. Physiol Rev. 2008; 88:1009-1086.
  2. Laughlin MH, Davis MJ, Secher NH, van Lieshout JJ, Arce-Esquivel A, Simmons GH, Bender SB, Padilla J, Bache RJ, Merkus D & Duncker DJ. Peripheral Circulation. Comprehens Physiol. 2012;2:321-447.
  3. Pries AR, Badimon L, Bugiardini R, Camici PG, Dorobantu M, Duncker DJ, Escaned J, Koller A, Piek JJ, de Wit C. Coronary vascular regulation, remodelling, and collateralization: mechanisms and clinical implications on behalf of the working group on coronary pathophysiology and microcirculation. Eur Heart J. 2015;36:3134-3146. 
  4. Duncker DJ, Koller A, Merkus D, Canty JM Jr. Regulation of Coronary Blood Flow in Health and Ischemic Heart Disease. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 2015;57:409-422.
  5. Kunadian V, Chieffo A, Camici PG, Berry C, Escaned J, Maas AHEM, Prescott E, Karam N, Appelman Y, Fraccaro C, Louise Buchanan G, Manzo-Silberman S, Al-Lamee R, Regar E, Lansky A, Abbott JD, Badimon L, Duncker DJ, Mehran R, Capodanno D, Baumbach A. An EAPCI Expert Consensus Document on Ischaemia with Non-Obstructive Coronary Arteries in Collaboration with European Society of Cardiology Working Group on Coronary Pathophysiology & Microcirculation Endorsed by Coronary Vasomotor Disorders International Study Group. Eur Heart J. 2020;41:3504-3520. 

For a full list of > 375 scientific publications, see Pubmed 

Teaching activities

2000-2005: Director of Erasmus Arts 2007 Course: ‘Stoornissen in het milieu interieur’.

2000- present: Lecturer in various educational programs at Erasmus MC, including the Erasmus Arts 2020 curriculum (‘Stoornissen in het milieu interieur’), and COEUR / CardioVascular Institute (HVI), EARP, VECTOR, and USMLE courses.

Other positions

2006-2012: Scientific Director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute COEUR

2010-2014: Chair of the Cardiovascular Research Initiative Netherlands (CVON) committee.

2013-2015: Associate Editor of Cardiovascular Research 

2015-2017: Deputy Editor of Cardiovascular Research

2016-2019: Scientific Director of the Netherlands Heart Institute.

2016-2020: Member of the ESC Council on Basic Cardiovascular Science. 

2018-2020: Chair of the ESC Working Group on Coronary Pathophysiology & Microcirculation.

2019-2020: Guest Editor of Cardiovascular Research Spotlight Issue ‘Coronary Microvascular Dysfunction’

2018- : Member of the Steering Committee of the Dutch CardioVascular Alliance DCVA.

Scholarships, grants, and awards

1991: NATO Science Fellowship.

1992: Grant-in-Aid from the American Heart Association Minnesota Affiliate.

1994: Grant-in-Aid from the American Heart Association Minnesota Affiliate.

: Runner-up in "Melvin L. Marcus Young Investigator Award in Cardiovascular Integrated Physiology", 66th Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association.

: Izaak Korteweg en Anna Ida Overwaterfonds Award

: Erasmus University Rotterdam Young Investigator Research Award

1995: Academy Fellowship Stipend (Akademie-Onderzoeker) from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (K.N.A.W.)

1997: Irbesartan Research Award supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi

1998: Young Investigator Travel Award, "Vascular and Myocardial Aspects of Ischaemic Heart Disease" conference of the American Heart Association

1998: Grant from the Netherlands Heart Foundation (NHS-99-143)

1999: “Best Referee Award” of the Netherlands Heart Foundation Annual Grant Review

2000: “Established Investigator” stipend of the Netherlands Heart Foundation (2000T038): “Left ventricular remodeling produced by myocardial infarction.” 

2004: European Space Agency Grant (AO-99-LSS-006).

2007: Netherlands Heart Foundation Grant (NHS-2007-B024).

2008: Center for Translational Molecular Medicine Grant (CTMM-TRIUMPH).

: EU Grant (FP7-Health-2010: FP7-MEDIA).

: CVON Grant (CVON-2011-11: ARENA).

: CVON Grant (CVON-2014-11: RECONNECT).

: CVON Impulse Grant (CVON-2017: ARENA PRIME).

: Wellcome Trust Grant (205256/Z/16/Z).

: ‘Gabor Kayley Award’ from the Microcirculatory Society and the Cardiovascular Section of the American Physiological Society.