The research within our LUMC departments is conducted within departmental research programmes. The research programme below is embedded within the department of Pediatrics.

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 LUMC is a leader in the field of cardiac imaging and arrhythmia research in congenital heart disease. Its Neonatal division is internationally recognized as expert center for neonatal translational research, introducing innovative ideas to improve neonatal resuscitation and treatment. It is the national referral center for fetal therapy participating in a global multicenter network for fetal therapy and initiating multicenter trials, and an internatıonally renowned center for genetıc causes of growth dısorders.

Content / highlights / achievements

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 themes

Future 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

  • Perinatal lung research: collaboration with the Departments of Pulmonology and Cardiology. 
  • Cardiovascular research: collaboration with research lines: 1.06.00: cardiothoracic surgery, 2.03.02 cardiac dysfunction and arrhythmias, 2.09.02 Cardiovascular aspects of radiology, 5.02.01 Molecular Cardiovascular Developmental Biology. 
  • Fetal therapy research collaborates with the department of obstetrics. 
  • Obesity in children: Childhood obesity research collaborates with the department of Radiology and is a study in line with 2.01.02 Metabolic health. 
  • Growth genetics research: a joint effort with the Departments of Endocrinology & Metabolic Disorders and Clinical Genetics.