Van der Heiden is a vascular biologist, who aims to develop new diagnostic imaging and discover new treatment targets for atherosclerosis by bringing together biologists, engineers, imagers and clinicians. Her multidisciplinary projects focus on the role of biomechanical forces on atherosclerotic plaque rupture and on imaging of the rupture-prone plaque. Her group uses pre-clinical, ex vivo and in vitro models of atherosclerosis to study the relation between plaque biology and plaque mechanics using techniques like nuclear imaging, mechanical tests, scanning electron microscopy, and immunohistochemistry.
Recent work includes nuclear imaging of inflammation to identify the rupture-prone plaque and the creation of a human disease model for atherosclerosis to study plaque rupture mechanisms.
Field(s) of expertise:
- Atherosclerotic plaque biology
- Plaque biomechanics
- Nuclear imaging of inflammation and calcification
- Cell responses to mechanical forces
Education and career
- Supervised 4 PhD theses to date (co-promotor)
- Supervised several MSc and BSc theses and internships.
- Minor "Cardiology: Medicine for Technical Students"
- Editorial board member Nature Scientific Reports
- Nucleus member European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Working Group on Atherosclerosis & Vascular biology
- Scientific council of the Young@Heart Netherlands Heart Institute
Scholarships, grants, and awards
- NWO Vidi 2020
- Dutch Heart Foundation Dekker Senior Postdoc 2014
- Erasmus MC grant 2014
- Erasmus MC fellowship 2012
- NWO Veni 2010
- Several Young Investigator Awards