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News Category: 2020

Reinier Boon receives ERC Consolidator grant

Reinier Boon, Professor Molecular Cardiovascular Ageing, receives the ERC Consolidator grant for his research into heart failure in the elderly.

Life expectancy in the European Union is rising and the prevalence of age-induced cardiovascular disease increases concomitantly. The main clinical presentation of age-induced cardiovascular disease is heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). HFpEF is a complex disease involving different cell types and mechanisms that contribute to impaired relaxation of cardiomyocytes. Currently there is no appropriate treatment for HFpEF. His proposal, entitled “Non-coding RNA and Intercellular Communication in Cardiac Aging” aims to better understand the molecular mechanisms behind intercellular communication and ageing that lead to HFpEF. His research focuses specifically on the role of the gene Sarrah and other so-called non-protein coding genes (lncRNAs), since these genes play a role in cardiac aging.

The ERC Consolidator Grant is one of the largest research grants in Europe for researchers who want to further expand a research group. This year, 327 top scientists throughout Europe received a total of €655 million.

Reinier Boon Reinier Boon

Josine de Winter receives VENI grant

Energizing molecular dance
J.M. de Winter, PhD, VUMC

Nemaline myopathy type 6 (NEM6) is a congenital myopathy that affects both skeletal and cardiac muscle. Due to disturbed energy supply, muscle cannot contract properly. Josine will use novel infrastructure and NEM6 zebrafish models to elucidate NEM6 pathomechanisms and screen for drugs that improve energy supply and muscle function.

Jolanda van der Velden received LeDucq grant with colleagues

Jolanda van der Velden received a LeDucq grant together with colleagues from Germany, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Grenoble and Haifa. Two PhD student will join the team in Amsterdam in this international collaboration (Total budget: 6.5 million USD; Amsterdam receives 800.000 USD).

Cytoskeletal regulation of cardiomyocyte homeostasis in health and disease

Lucie CARRIER, University Medical Center Hamburg (Germany)(European Coordinator), Benjamin PROSSER, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (USA) (North American Coordinator), Giulio AGNETTI, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (USA), Carolyn HO, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (USA), Izhac KEHAT, Technion Israel Institute of Technology (Israel), Kenneth MARGULIES, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (USA), Marie-Jo MOUTIN, Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences (France), Jolanda VAN DER VELDEN, Amsterdam UMC (Netherlands)

Heart failure, the inability of the heart to pump enough blood through the body, is a consequence of a loss of heart muscle and/or a change in the properties of heart muscle cells. It is usually studied on the level of the motor proteins or their regulation by calcium. This Leducq Cytoskeleton Network (LCN) targets a component that has not received enough attention – the cytoskeleton, a structure that helps cells to maintain their shape and internal organization. It is composed of actin, microtubules and intermediate filaments and, under normal conditions, powers motor protein contraction, cargo delivery, and the disposal of waste proteins. Recent studies by the network members demonstrated that myocytes from failing human hearts have too many and abnormally modified microtubules and intermediate filaments, and revealed the enzymes involved in these modifications. This opens the unique possibility to target microtubule and intermediate filament modification to improve cardiac function. By using sophisticated ultrastructural imaging techniques and machine learning, the LCN will evaluate how the altered cytoskeleton affects cardiomyocyte contractile function as well as mRNA delivery, protein synthesis and waste disposal in heart failure. The LCN will also examine what initiates the proliferation and modification of the cytoskeleton, and whether these drivers can be targeted to prevent or reverse cardiac dysfunction and heart failure. Support by the Fondation Leducq would empower the LCN team to explore an innovative and vastly unexplored territory in the heart disease space.

Prof Coen Ottenheijm receives grant EJP RD JTC 2019

European consortium to study congenital muscle disease.

The project aims at improving the diagnostic pipeline for skeletal muscle disorders caused by mutations in TTN and NEB, using cutting edge techniques.

Josine de Winter: JCI KBTBD13 is an actin-binding protein

KBTBD13 is an actin-binding protein that modulates muscle kinetics.

de Winter JM, Molenaar JP, Yuen M, van der Pijl R, Shen S, Conijn S, van de Locht M, Willigenburg M, Bogaards SJ, van Kleef ES, Lassche S, Persson M, Rassier DE, Sztal TE, Ruparelia AA, Oorschot V, Ramm G, Hall TE, Xiong Z, Johnson CN, Li F, Kiss B, Lozano-Vidal N, Boon RA, Marabita M, Nogara L, Blaauw B, Rodenburg RJ, Kϋsters B, Doorduin J, Beggs AH, Granzier H, Campbell K, Ma W, Irving T, Malfatti E, Romero NB, Bryson-Richardson RJ, van Engelen BG, Voermans NC, Ottenheijm CA.

J Clin Invest. 2020 Jan 6. pii: 124000. doi: 10.1172/JCI124000.