Development of the lung, heart and skeleton

Principal investigators
Prof. Dr. N.A. Blom, Prof. Dr. E. Lopriore, Prof. Dr. A.B. te Pas, Dr. A.A.W. Roest

Aim and focus
This program studies the development and regenerative capacity of the lung, cardiovascular system and skeleton from a basic science setting to clinical practice with a special focus on early (intrauterine) life events and their effects on future development of disease.

Position in international context
The various projects are internationally competitive. The LUMC is a leader in the field of cardiac imaging research in congenital heart disease, combining novel echocardiographic and MRI techniques.

Perinatal lung research investigates molecular mechanisms of aberrant alveolar and vascular development and regenerative capacity of the injured neonatal lung to develop novel treatment options for bronchopulmonary dysplasia and right ventricular hypertrophy. Cardiovascular research studies the developmental origin of arrhythmias and utilizes cardiovascular imaging to detect cardiovascular dysfunction after congenital heart surgery. Growth genetics research studies genetic causes of aberrant stature which has led to recent discovery of mutations in novel genes responsible for growth disorders. Neonatal transition and resuscitation research investigates pulmonary, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular interaction in health and disease at birth and its consequences later in life, as initiator of a worldwide collaboration. Research in fetal therapy studies mechanisms of fetal diseases and the management and outcome in neonates after fetal intervention, culminating in the publication of the Solomon-trial. Research in childhood obesity focuses on functional changes of the brain and cardiovascular system in childhood obesity.

Future themesFuture research aims to study the effect of disease and interventions early in life on cardiovascular and neurological outcome and the risk of the development of cardiovascular disease later in life. Animal models will be dedicated to study the cardiovascular and pulmonary response after a second hit in neonatal rats with chronic lung and heart disease and to study the cause of arrhythmias. Novel imaging strategies will be developed to detect short and long-term cardiovascular and neurological outcome after intervention for a congenital heart defect, in patients after fetal intervention, in patients with abnormal transition after birth due to premature birth and in obese children and to assess the effect of disease early in life on cardiovascular risk profile and cardiovascular disease later in life. Finally, expansion of next-generation sequencing for growth disorders and functional studies on a novel gene associated with pituitary development.

Cohesion within LUMC

Lung research is done in close cooperation with the Departments of Pulmonology and Cardiology, cardiovascular research cooperates with the Departments of Anatomy and Embryology, Cardiology and Radiology, and skeletal research is a joint effort with the Departments of Endocrinology and Metabolic Disorders and Human Genetics.