Kim van der Heiden receives VIDI Grant to capture plaque rupture on a Plaque-on-Chip

Sunday, 20 December 2020

NWO, domain Applied and Engineering Sciences, has awarded hDMT PI Kim van der Heiden from the Erasmus MC, department Cardiology, a VIDI grant worth 800.000 euro for the research project Defining new imaging biomarkers for stroke by unravelling atherosclerotic cap rupture. For investigating the mechanism of plaque rupture, she will initiate a Plaque-on-Chip.

Stroke, caused by rupture of the cap over an atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid artery, is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. At the moment we cannot predict if and when a cap will rupture and so we cannot predict which patient is at risk of stroke. To predict this, we need to understand the process of cap rupture.

Kim van der Heiden will collaborate with tissue engineers from the Erasmus MC and the Eindhoven University of Technology, to create an in vitro mimic of human atherosclerotic caps. These tissue engineered caps are then imaged and mechanically tested to investigate the relationship between the different biological components and the mechanical properties of the cap. With this study, Van der Heiden's research team hopes to discover which biological components are crucial in the rupture process and can be used as new targets for imaging, to identify the plaque at risk of rupture and therefore the patient at risk of stroke.

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