Cardiovascular Engineering

Vascular Biophysics

The research of this group is devoted to the control of tone and remodeling of blood vessels, with a special interest in the role of physical factors (blood pressure and blood flow) in these processes and the biomechanics of the vascular wall. Our scientific objectives range from unraveling of basic mechanisms to understanding pathogenesis and consequences of notably hypertension, atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease and intracranial aneurysms. We use a wide variety of approaches. These include medical imaging modalities (in collaboration with Radiology), in vivo approaches such as rodent hypertension and flow restriction models, perfused arteries and arterioles of human and animal origin in organoid culture, cell-based experimental models, molecular techniques, and mathematical modeling and simulation. My group aims to combine biophysical and functional experiments with analysis of molecular parameters. Our philosophy is to perform integrative science and utilize a systems approach in order to correlate molecular mechanisms with structure and function of blood vessels and vascular networks in health and disease.

Cardiovascular Hemodynamics

Cardiovascular Hemodynamics and Perfusion
The research of the CV Hemodynamics & Perfusion group [PI: Dr. ir. Maria Siebes] encompasses multidisciplinary investigations ranging from bench to bedside. Mechanistic research is carried out in areas of coronary disease and microvascular pathologies in humans. Experimental projects on vascular network analysis and regional perfusion complement and support the interpretation of the functional clinical data. Physiological measurements, image analysis and biofluid mechanics are integrated with model-based analysis in clinical and pre-clinical studies.
The projects are carried out in close collaboration with basic science and clinical departments, and with national and international as well as industrial partners.

Functional assessment of coronary epicardial and microvascular pathophysiology:
Aim: to advance diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities.

Novel approaches to analyze intracoronary hemodynamic signals obtained with sensor-equipped guide wires (Prof. dr. J.J. Piek) are developed to gain mechanistic insight into dysfunction of the coronary microcirculation in humans, associated with epicardial disease, diabetes, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure or aortic stenosis. In collaboration with King's College London, we investigate coronary hemodynamic signals.

Vascular network analysis and regional perfusion
Aim: to understand the role of microvascular structure in perfusion distribution and its adaptation in pathophysiological conditions.
A unique high-resolution imaging cryomicrotome has been developed in our department (Prof. dr. ir. J. A. Spaan) and is used to visualize and quantify detailed vascular networks and segmental perfusion by 3D imaging of fluorescently labeled markers (vascular casting, microspheres, cells, etc). Focus is on coronary adaptation to acute and chronic local oxygen deficiency as induced by a stenosis, cardiomyopathies, or pressure overload. Novel analysis methods applied to hemodynamic measurements are utilized together with network models to support the interpretation of experimental and clinical data. This line of research extends to applications in urology, nephrology and pathology. An NWO Veni project (Dr. J.PHM van den Wijngaard) focuses on microvascular adaptation in heart failure.
Pre-clinical investigation of neovascularization in co-localization with labeled biomarkers is carried out with support from the Center for Molecular Medicine (CTMM) and from the Netherlands Heart Foundation.
We are participating in the EC-funded FP7 project euHeart ( which aims to develop individualized, computer-based, human heart models using patient-specific data and multi-scale modeling techniques. Much of our research is conceptually embedded in the Virtual Physiological Human initiative (
With support from a recent NWO Investment grant, we are developing a 3D Fluorescent Imaging Cryomicrotome System (3D-FICS) for high-resolution biomedical structure, functional and molecular imaging.


Prof. Dr. Ed van Bavel

Dr. ir. M. Siebes

Dr Erik Bakker

Prof. dr. ir. J.A.E. Spaan


C.R. Oost, PhD

Teresa Palao Garcia, PhD

Beatrice Bedussi, PhD

PhD Students

  • N. Hakimzadeh MSc
  • M.G.J.T.B. van Lier MSc
  • J.V.C. Schwarz MSc
  • Nadia Lachkar MSc

Ir. M.J. Brandt

Angela van Weert

Judith de Vos