Head of the department of Anatomy, Embryology & Physiology

Focus of research

Research efforts focus on the development of methods for qualitative and quantitative 3D-visualization and measurement of gene expression patterns and morphogenetic parameters like cell size and proliferation during heart development in chicken, mouse and human to provide the base required to understand the pathogenesis of congenital cardiac malformations. Application of these methods in chicken has lead to the identification of a growth centre outside the heart that adds cells to the venous and arterial poles of the heart. 3D models, integrating molecular, physiological and morphological data are presented in a novel interactive portable format (3D-PDF) providing crucial spatial information and facilitating interpretation. This approach has resulted in the coordination of an EU-funded project CHeartED, in which we will identify cardiac compartments based on gene expression patterns of a number of key cardiac genes (an approach dubbed “genetic annotation”) and in an AMC-funded educational project, entitled: “3D atlas of the developing human” largely carried out by medical students during their scientific internship.
Our group spends a significant proportion of its time (>50%) on biostatistical and image analysis support of all other PI-groups in the HeartFailureResearchCentre.

In addition we study the role of anatomy in medical faculty and public space (Museum Vrolik).