Research area

In the western world, cardiovascular diseases still are one of the most prevalent causes for morbidity and overall mortality. Our research programme aims to enhance our knowledge concerning atherothrombosis and heart failure in order to improve therapeutic options for these disorders. The two lines of research include the whole spectrum from basic to clinical activities. The research is done at various levels of complexity ranging from health care in general, to population and prevention, patient care, experimental work on animals, cell biology and using molecular techniques as proteomics and genomics. Within the theme Atherothrombosis, research is aimed to enhance knowledge concerning vascular remodelling, plaque vulnerability, relevance of toll-like receptors, coagulation, arteriogenesis, thrombogenicity of platelets and protein misfolding. The theme Heart Failure focuses on understanding the pathophysiology of and signals responsible for cardiac adaptation processes leading to ventricular hypertrophy, heart failure, arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Complementary integrative research is conducted on inherited and acquired diseases related to heart and kidney with an emphasis on the consequences of aging for the progression of the disease.

The PhD candidates are offered the opportunity to explore the area from the level of molecular biology to patient care.

Within the UMC Utrecht the Cardiovascular Research (CVR) programme comprises the research activities of eight divisions

  1. Heart and Lungs;
  2. Internal Medicine and Dermatology;
  3. Laboratory and Pharmacy;
  4. Surgical Specialties;
  5. Radiation,
  6. Radiology
  7. Nuclear Medicine including Imaging;
  8. Julius Center; Neuroscience, Paediatrics

Within Utrecht University extensive collaborations exist with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Prof. Alain de Bruin, PhD, Pathology), the departments of Pharmacy (Prof. A. de Boer, PhD, Pharmaco-epidemiology and Pharmacotherapy), and Biology (Jan Andries Post, PhD, Cell Biology) and the Proteomics Centre (Prof. Albert Heck, PhD) of the Faculty of Science.

Associated research groups

All information regarding our researchers and research groups can be found at the programme’s website.

Profile of prospective PhD candidates

Prospective candidates have to be highly motivated and capable of doing research independently but also working in a team. The interest in cardiovascular disease should be apparent from the pre-education, e.g. through knowledge of (patho)physiology and pathology of heart and vessels obtained during Bachelor’s and Master’s studies in Life Sciences.

Mission of the training programme

The programme aims to challenge PhD candidates to gain more in-depth knowledge of cardiovascular research. In a multidisciplinary setting PhD candidates participate in research, meetings, symposia and courses, a.o. on the (patho) physiology of heart and vessels. Subjects include thrombotic aspects, methodology including animal models, valorisation and regenerative medicine. Via this, the PhD candidates are offered the opportunity to explore the area from the level of molecular biology to patient care. Besides theoretical education the programme aims to train academic researchers who are familiar with exceeding the limits of their own project.

After completion of the programme, the PhD candidate

  • Has profound knowledge of cardiac and vascular diseases and disease mechanisms;
  • Is able to communicate and collaborate with peers and other scientists in the Netherlands and abroad;
  • Can operate independently;
  • Can formulate new research questions and write grant proposals;
  • Is able to communicate with the broad scientific community on an academic level, and with the general public;
  • Will have insight into the various possibilities to develop his/her career according to personal interests

Training programme

Programme organization

Programme director

Prof. M.A. Vos, PhD


Programme coordinator

M.F.A. Bierhuizen, PhD


To ascertain its high quality and actuality, the admission to and mission of the CVR programme is continuously monitored by the programme committee consisting of:

  • Prof. Marc Vos, PhD (Medical Physiology, UMC Utrecht)

  • Prof. Steven A.J. Chamuleau, MD, PhD (Cardiology, UMC Utrecht)

  • Prof. Michiel L. Bots, MD, PhD (Julius Center, UMC Utrecht)

  • Jan Andries Post, PhD (Cell Biology, University of Utrecht)

  • Marti F.A. Bierhuizen, PhD (Medical Physiology, UMC Utrecht)

  • PhD candidate representative(s)

More Information

Visit the CVR website