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Excellent Science

Read more about the research talent at Erasmus MC.


  Dr. Gijs van Soest – Imaging atherosclerotic plaque lipidomics in vivo  

NWO TTW - Vici 2017

Dr. van Soest will develop new techniques for imaging of atherosclerotic plaque, based on local biochemistry. This lipid imaging will help to diagnose atherosclerotic plaque and predict risk of events like coronary heart disease and stroke, informing personalised risk assessment and therapy.


Marie-Sklodowska Curie Individual Fellowships awarded to Erasmus MC researchers

Dr. Devika Narain - Neural circuits for optimal prediction of timing
Neurosciences - Incoming Fellowship
Humans and animals often accurately predict the timing of intervals. Whether it is the split-second decision to cross the road or the moment when your cat decides to pounce at an unsuspecting mouse, using sensory information to accurately time movements is a highly refined function of the mammalian nervous system. While we have a good understanding of how isolated timing intervals are encoded in the brain, it is unclear how more sophisticated timing behavior, as illustrated in the examples above, is encoded in neural circuits. Devika proposes theoretical and experimental frameworks for how known circuits for simple timing contingencies can be expanded and probed to study the encoding of complex prediction of events.

Dr. Erwin Ista - DiarY by Nurses' iMplemented in the Intensive Care unit
Peadiatrics/Internal Medicine - Outgoing Fellowship
Nursing is the largest healthcare discipline worldwide and nurses play vital roles in the healthcare system. Clinical guidelines and protocols are available to provide safe and effective nursing care, but implementing these in routine care is not easy. So far, nursing implementation science has provided little evidence to guide the development of implementation strategies for influencing nurses’ professional behaviors. The proposed research addresses an urgent question in the field of nursing implementation science: What are effective strategies to change nurses’ behavior towards successful implementation of evidence-based interventions? Dr. Erwin Ista (applicant) will be supervised by Professor van Achterberg, professor of Quality of Care and head of the Academic Centre for Nursing and Midwifery at KU Leuven. 

Dr. My Phan - Novel PHAge MEthods for improved virus inactivation
Viroscience - Incoming Fellowship
The WHO estimates that 2 billion people still drink contaminated water and lack of access to safe sanitation and the safety of water supply worldwide is challenged by population growth and climate change. Most water safety measurements assess bacterial content and may miss viral pathogens; therefore removing or inactivating viral pathogens during the waste water treatment is of vital importance. Dr. My Phan aims to develop better systems for monitoring and evaluating virus inactivation methods using bacteriophages as surrogates.

Dr. Ilaria Tonazzini - Study of neuronal sensing and migration/guidance dynamics in neurodevelopmental disorders by nano-engineered chips
Neurosciences - Incoming Fellowship


Dr. Mirjam Kool - T Helper 17 Cells in Sarcoidosis
Longfonds - Dirkje Postma Award 

In several (pulmonary) diseases, like severe asthma, COPD and pneumonia, Th17-cells play an important role. Dr. Kool will evaluate whether the phenotype of Th17-lineage cells is sarcoidosis-specific or disease overarching, examining Th17-cells of severe asthma patients. This project will provide crucial insight into pathological role of Th17-lineage-cells and CTLA-4 function in sarcoidosis pathogenesis and other Th17-cell mediated (lung) diseases.


  Dr. Rebekka Schneider – Bone Marrow Fibrosis

ERC Starting Grant- 2017

Bone marrow (BM) fibrosis is the continuous replacement of blood forming cells in the bone marrow by scar tissue, ultimately leading to failure of the body to produce blood cells. Primary myelofibrosis (PMF), an incurable blood cancer, is the prototypic example of the step-wise development of BM fibrosis. The specific mechanisms that cause BM fibrosis are not understood , in particular as the cells driving fibrosis have remained obs cure. Dr. Schneider aims to unravel these mechansims in her research.


NWO - Veni 2017

Dr. Tianshi Wang - New imaging technique sees the heart attack before it happens
Most heart attacks and strokes are caused by the rupture of lipid-core atherosclerotic plaques in the artery wall. Seeing the heart attack before it happens may potentially save millions of lives. Dr. Wang is developing a new technique named thermo-elastic deformation imaging, targeting early detection of the lipid-core plaques.

Dr. Henk-Jan Boele - New brain connections
Our brain, and in broader terms our nervous system, has an enormous adaptability (neuroplasticity). For this Veni-proposal, I want to investigate the biological processes of this brain adaptability. The gained knowledge about these processes is severely needed for the treatment of brain diseases as a result of degeneration or injury.

Dr. Karen Stegers-Jager - Fatal first impressions?
Within a split second assessors form a first impression of a trainee. How does this first impression influence the final rating? Is this the reason for poorer ratings for ethnic minority trainees? Unravelling this judgment process is essential for fair assessments for all students in our multicultural society.

Dr. Miao-Ping Chien - Identification, Isolation and Analysis of Single Cancer Stem Cells
To understand the molecular mechanisms driving oncogenesis it is imperative to study individual cells. I will create and use optical and chemical methods for the identification, isolation and analysis of single cancer stem cells, and investigate their role in the formation, progression and therapeutic resistance of tumors.

Dr. Patrick Forbes - Unravelling the brain’s internal sensory and motor models of standing
How is balance maintained automatically? Our brain uses internal sensory and motor models to control posture. Using novel robotics, these models will be uncoupled by modifying properties of our sensors, body mechanics and environment. This research will reveal causal relationships between the neural computations and compensatory responses required to stand.


Dr. Natasja de Groot - Atrial Fibrillation
NWO - Vidi 2017 

Dr. Natasja de Groot, cardiac electrophysiologist at the Thorax Center, hopes to tailor the treatment for atrial fibrillation more to the individual patient. All patients currently receive the same treatment, regardless of the phase the disease is in. By applying a dedicated electrical stimulation technique she aims to identify electrical biomarkers that can be used to individualise diagnosis and therapy of atrial fibrillation.


Prof. dr. Robin Peeters - Hypothyroid Mothers
NWO - Vidi 2017 

Robin Peeters, endocrinologist and Professor of Internal Medicine, will to use the grant to improve the treatment of hypothyroid mothers (and the brain development of their children). Low maternal thyroid hormone levels during pregnancy result in a decreased child IQ, autism, ADHD and schizophrenia. Through this study he aims to develop a method to monitor fetal thyroid status via measurements in maternal serum. Click here for an interview with prof. Peeters about his research.




Dr. Judith Rietjens - Self Management
NWO - Vidi 2017 

The grant will enable Dr. Judith Rietjens of the department of Public Health to examine patients with advanced cancer and determine how they can take a significant role in managing their healthcare. Many patients and their family caregivers are ill-prepared for this complex task. The researchers will examine which patients have more difficulties with self-management, why this is the case, and how they can best be supported.

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