Cardiovascular Tissue Regeneration

ESR project


Title of project

Ex vivo Cardiac repair

We offered

A 4-year PhD student position in the interdisciplinary area of regenerative medicine. The project will focus on various aspects of in vitro and ex vivo cardiac repair. Including cardiomyocyte proliferation, arterial regeneration and replacement.


The Department of Cardiology at the Regenerative Medicine Center Utrecht is in close collaboration with the Department of Clinical Cardiology at the University Medical Center Utrecht. One of our main goals is to create innovative and improved heart failure therapies.


We aim to develop an ex vivo working heart model using (rest)material instead of sacrificing laboratory animals. There is an unmet and urgent need for a system that allows to work on an isolated heart for a seven day period, while we currently cannot preserve the porcine heart longer than 12 hours at best. The system should not only maintain cardiac function but could be used in the future to improve cardiac function in isolated human hearts like we can do in kidneys and lungs prior to transplantation.1 By developing this technology we can replace the need of laboratory animals, we can dramatically reduce the need for in vivo experiments and upon transferring the technology to the human heart it will help us to treat a diseased heart.

We aim to study the molecular mechanisms involved in decay of cardiac function ex vivo. Next develop techniques to induce and stop cardiomyocyte cell division at will based on serial biopsies to monitor the progress of cell division while measuring cardiac function.

The technology to replace vessels is maturing. Various vascular scaffolds have been developed that can be used to create functional vessels. Here we can study the effect of vascular interposition in the coronary system on myocardial perfusion up to 7 days and monitor myocardial damage.  

Contact person & more information

Prof Pieter A. Doevendans


This project is part of RESCUE, a multidisciplinary, intersectoral and interdisciplinary PhD training programme in Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells organised by UMC Utrecht (coordinator) and Utrecht University. RESCUE is partly funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020's Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND scheme. There are specific requirements with regards to English language and mobility for candidates who would like to take part in this programme. More information