Cardiovascular Tissue Regeneration

ESR project


Title of Project

Stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte strategies to enhance cardiac repair

We offered

A 4-year PhD student position in the interdisciplinary area of regenerative medicine. The project will focus on stimulating cardiac muscle growth to induce cardiac repair.


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


Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Many cardiovascular diseases, such as heart failure and myocardial infarction, are associated with loss of functional cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells). Since the heart has a limited regenerative capacity, it is not able to replace these cardiomyocytes on its own. Prof. Dr. Slujter’s team explores novel approaches to repair the heart using stem- and progenitor cells, their secretions or direct genetic approaches. A focus on the understanding of fundamental cardiac developmental – and repair processes will promote the recapitulation of cardiac repair.

The research group is focused on cardiac regeneration by using different approaches that can lead to improved recovery and diagnosis of cardiac tissue upon injury. The main theme reflect the improvement of progenitor cell transplantation therapy by genetic/pharmacological approaches and biomaterials to improve cell survival, optimize cell delivery techniques, improve cell culture conditions and visualization of transplanted cells via MRI, BLI or nuclear labeling. The group started to study the use of exosomes to induce cardiac repair in recent years, thereby focusing on paracrine signaling of transplanted cells and their potential effectors. Sluijter’s enthusiasm for introducing innovative molecular approaches, and his wide experiences in progenitor cell biology and preclinical animal model testing for cardiac injury, is aimed for a quick translation from basic discoveries to preclinical testing in patient relevant animal models.

Contact person & more information

Prof. Dr. Joost Sluijter, UMC Utrecht


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