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Cardiovascular Research Group

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The Cardiovascular Research Group at the Department of Human and Clinical Genetics is headed by Prof.dr. Rune R. Frants and is a joint venture with the group of Prof. L.M. Havekes at TNO-PG. We focus on cardiovascular disease especially in the context of the so-called metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome is characterized by obesity, glucose dysregulation, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and an increased likelihood to develop type 2 diabetes and premature cardiovascular disease. We are part of the Center for Medical Systems Biology and thus have access to state of the art genomics facilities and data analysis and integration technology.

A number of separate but closely interconnected lines of research are being pursued. These are aimed at identifying genetic defects leading to hyperlipidemia, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in patients and subsequently using this information to generate and study mouse models. The main focus is on mouse models, since, in contrast to human, environmental conditions such as diet and life style can easily be controlled.

The mouse models are used in a dual fashion: 1) to identify novel susceptibility genes using genetics and genomics technology and 2) to study the effect of additional genes and the environment on the development and potential prevention of cardiovascular disease. Three research lines are being pursued: 


Research lines


  Genetics of HUMAN cardiovascular diseasE 


Principle Investigator: Prof.dr. Rune Frants


This line of research is aimed at identifying the exact genetic defect(s) in patients with familial predisposition to cardiovascular disease. A multitude of advanced molecular genetic tools are being applied, including automated genetic marker analysis and gene expression profiling of tissues using micro-array technology (LGTC).




Principle Investigator: Dr. Ko Willems van Dijk


This line of research is aimed at investigating the role and therapeutic potential of specific candidate genes in the development of cardiovascular disease. To this end, transgenic and knock-out mouse models are generated and analyzed in depth. Temporary gene expression is achieved using adenovirus mediated gene transfer. Both low scale molecular, biochemical and physiological techniques are applied as well as genomics technology in a Systems Biology approach.



  Novel gene discovery using mouse mODELS 


Principle Investigator: Dr. Corina Moen


This line of research is aimed at identifying novel genes that are involved in the development of cardiovascular disease, using available mouse models. One line of research is aimed at identifying genetic susceptibility loci in mice using advanced genetic mapping tools. A parale line of research in these same mice is aimed at identifying key genes using microarray technology (LGTC).    


Last update: 04-02-2005