Seventy ACS PhD students journeyed to Soesterberg for this year’s annual PhD retreat, which was themed 'From Bench to Bedside'.  

A program packed with a variety of activities 

The 2-day program was filled with a variety of activities from talks and lectures, to workshops, poster sessions and fun activities.  

 Participants were first welcomed by ACS director Menno de Winther. Keynote speakers Patricia Vlasman and Jan Willem Buikema spoke on translational research in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where Patricia gave her unique perspective as a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patient who received a heart transplant roughly 5 years ago. Prof. Antoinette Maassen van den Brink inspired participants with her translational research on targeting drugs for migraine and spoke about how pharmacology might inform treatment decisions. Also, participants could attend workshops on ‘presenting like a pro’, but also expand their skillset by following workshops in CPR and Djembe.

Awards best talks and posters 

Of course, there was plenty of time for participants to share their own research projects. The retreat ended with an award ceremony for the best talks and posters. Congratulations to all awardees!    

Best plenary talk:
Stan van Wijk with his talk 'Lamin variants induce arrhythmia in fruit fly model’.  

Best parallel talks:
Sarah Hilderink with her pitch 'Elucidating pathophysiology of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)'  
Wout Claasen with his talk 'The effect of PEEP on thediaphragm’  
Rianne Baelde with her talk 'Mitochondrial dysfunctionin congenital myopathies’  

Best posters:
Leander Vonk with his poster 'Changes in muscle fiber integrity and contractile function during ex vivo culture'.  
Reagan Tompkins with her poster 'Retrospective motion correction for fetal 4D flow MRI'. 

ACS PhD retreat 2025: looking for new committee members 

We would like to thank all speakers and participants for their contributions. Also, we would like to give a special thanks to this year’s PhD retreat committee, consisting of Lotte Abbas, Philipp Hauger, Tom Kerkhoff, Mijra Koning, Philippa Phelp, Leah Root, Amber Schonk and Julia Visch.  

Would you like to help organize next year’s PhD retreat? Please let us know, by contacting us at