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Dr. van Soest, G. (Gijs)

Associate Professor, Optical coherence tomography, intravascular ultrasound, and photo-acoustics

Dr. van Soest, G. (Gijs)
Research area:Optical coherence tomography, intravascular ultrasound, and photo-acoustics
Office: Ee2322a
Publications:   Gijs van Soest (Google Scolar)
Tel:       +31 (0)10 7044638
Fax:      +31 (0)10 7044720

Gijs van Soest is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the Thorax Center, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam. His research focuses on the use and development of imaging methods for characterization of atherosclerosis and for guidance of cardiovascular interventions, aiming for better diagnosis, and more effective, less invasive, safer treatment. Different projects target improved biological image contrast (what should we see?) and on instrumentation (how can we best see it?). Current imaging technologies include intravascular optical coherence tomography (OCT), photoacoustic and ultrasonic imaging. All projects are carried out in close collaboration with clinicians in the Thorax Centre and elsewhere. Recent achievements include the in vivo demonstration of the fastest intravascular OCT system in the world, and spectroscopic photoacoustic imaging of human atherosclerosis.

Knowledge transfer and technology translation are important goals of the research of Van Soest, in order to have an impact in clinical settings. He is a founder and scientific director of the international Optics in Cardiology conference, and maintains close associations with clinicians and companies in the field.
He obtained an MSc degree in Physics in 1997 at the University of Groningen. He then moved to the University of Amsterdam, where he did his graduate research on the interplay of light scattering and laser physics, receiving his PhD degree in 2001. Between 2002 and 2005, he worked on remote sensing of atmospheric trace gases and satellite validation at the Royal Netherlands Meteorology Institute and the Space Research Organization of the Netherlands. In 2005, he joined the Thorax Center as a post-doc and was appointed as a faculty member in 2010. Van Soest was appointed as a Raine Visiting Professor at the University of Western Australia in 2016.


1. Imaging of atherosclerosis:

Atherosclerotic plaques form over the course of a lifetime, but do not receive much attention until they cause trouble: if the fibrous cap of a plaque breaks and releases its lipid-rich contents into the blood, a clot can form, blocking an artery downstream. The consequence could be a heart attack or a stroke, depending on plaque location. This year, atherosclerosis will kill 18000 people in the Netherlands by events like these, it will kill nearly 30000 in 2040, and we cannot predict who they will be. If we could identify those victims early, we could take pre-emptive measures and avert their disability or untimely death.

Identifying those plaques that trigger heart attacks and strokes has been my research interest for 10+ years. I have developed various technologies in the past decade aimed at identifying fast-progressing plaques, and means to use that information in treatment of coronary artery disease. Research in this area covers the complete spectrum from bench to bedside.

Project links to:

Heartbeat OCT
Real-time intravascular photoacoustic imaging
Atherosclerotic tissue type imaging and validation in IVOCT
Molecular histology of atherosclerosis

2. Image-guided interventions in cardiovascular medicine

Minimally invasive interventions offer an alternative therapeutic strategy to open surgery for many diseases. Coronary artery disease was one of the first clinical areas to see large-scale development of catheter-based treatment by balloon angioplasty and stenting as an alternative to bypass surgery. Benefits include less trauma and much faster recovery. Navigation of interventional instruments and monitoring of treatment effect requires accurate, real-time imaging guidance, however, as there is no direct visual information from the surgical field. X-ray imaging is the conventional guidance tool, but has shortcomings in being a 2D projection modality that relies on contrast dyes for visualisation of vasculature.

A series of research projects aims to develop new catheter-based interventional tools that use ultrasound or photoacoustics to provide anatomic and functional information to the operating clinician.

Project links to:

Photoacoustic imaging of atrial ablation
Imaging drug and scaffold metabolomics in coronary artery disease

Curriculum Vitae G. van Soest

Former PhD students