Prof. dr. P.J. Sterk

Main activities
Clinical Physiology: Pathogenesis and Pathophysiology of Airway Diseases
Focus of research
  • Pathophysiology and phenotyping of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Structure-function relationships in the airways of patients with asthma and COPD
  • Gene expression profiling and in vivo function of airway smooth muscle in asthma
  • Use of biomarkers of airway inflammation and lung function in the prediction and monitoring of clinical outcome of respiratory diseases
  • Human in vivo models of asthma exacerbations by experimental rhinovirus infection, allergen, and/or particulate matter exposure
  • Breatheomics in exhaled air by AMC developed, big data cloud-based electronic nose technology as non-invasive and unbiased diagnostic assessment of respiratory diseases
Key publications
  • Yick CY, Zwinderman AH, Kunst PW, Grünberg K, Mauad T, Fluiter K, Bel EH, Lutter R, Baas F, Sterk PJ, Glucocorticoid-induced changes in gene expression of airway smooth muscle in patients with asthma. AM J RESP CRIT CARE 2013;187 (10):1076-1084 [PubMed]
  • Fens N, van der Sluijs KF, van de Pol MA, Dijkhuis A, Smids BS, van der Zee JS, Lutter R, Zwinderman AH, Sterk PJ [Contributors: Berger M, Yick D, Wagener A, Amelink M, Reesink H, Bresser P, Kunst P, Venekamp L, Majoor C, van Steenwijk R, Jonkers R]] , Electronic Nose Identifies Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid Eosinophils in Asthma. AM J RESP CRIT CARE 2015;191 (9):1086-1088 [PubMed]
  • Boots AW, Bos LD , van der Schee MP, van Schooten FJ, Sterk PJ, Exhaled Molecular Fingerprinting in Diagnosis and Monitoring: Validating Volatile Promises. TRENDS MOL MED 2015;21 (10):633-644 [PubMed]
  • Thamrin C, Frey U, Kaminsky DA, Reddel HK, Seely AJE, Suki B, Sterk PJ, Systems Biology and Clinical Practice in Respiratory Medicine. The Twain Shall Meet. AM J RESP CRIT CARE 2016;194 (9):1053-1061 [PubMed]
  • Postma DS, Wijkstra PJ, Hiemstra PS, Melgert BN, Braunstahl GJ, Hylkema MN, Sterk PJ, The Dutch National Program for Respiratory Research. LANCET RESP MED 2016;4 (5):356-357 [PubMed]
All Publications
Curriculum Vitae



February 21, 2014


-  Name:  Pieter Jan Sterk
- Date of birth March: 31st, 1951
- Nationality:  Dutch
- Address:  Lagewaard 21, NL-2396 AV Koudekerk aan den Rijn
- Institute:  Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam
- Address:  Dept. of Respiratory Medicine, F5-259, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, NL-1105 AZ Amsterdam
- Telephone: +31 20 566 4356
- Fax: +31 20 566 9001
- eMail:


- MD: Leiden University, 1976
- PhD: Leiden University, 1981
- Clinical Physiologist Leiden University, 1981


- 1976-1981: Research Fellow Dept. of Physiology, Head Prof. Ph.H. Quanjer, Leiden University, The Netherlands
- 1983-1984: Clinical Fellow Dept. of Respirology, Prof. F.E. Hargreave, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
- 1981-1985: University Lecturer Dept. of Pulmonology, Head Prof. J.H. Dijkman, Leiden University Medical Center
- 1986-1995: Associate Professor Dept. of Pulmonology, Leiden University Medical Center
- 1996- present: Full Professor Dept. of Pulmonology, Head Prof. C. Taube, Leiden University Medical Center
- 2007-present: Full Professor Dept. of Respiratory Medicine, Head Prof. E.H. Bel, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam

- 2016 onwards: Emeritus  


Current additional activities
1. Coordinator of EU Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) consortium U-BIOPRED (2009-2015)
2. Past Chief Editor of the European Respiratory Journal (impact 6.1)
3. Member of the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (Impact 11.0)
4, Chair of the Koninklijke Maatschappij voor Natuurkunde ‘Diligentia’ The Hague


Awards and rankings


  1. Recipient of the 2010 Karolinska Institute Annual Clinical Science Lecture Award
  2. The 2005 ‘Sadoul Award’ by the European Respiratory Society for ‘Worldwide Recognition of Scientific Career’
  3. Elsevier citation ranking 2005: 3rd highest citing international medical publication from The Netherlands (2001-2004)                                                              

- Cumulative number of public, competitive grants: 52
- Cumulative number of industrial grants: 8


- Recipient, PI and Coordinator of EU IMI grant on Severe Asthma U-BIOPRED 2009-2015  (26.9 Million Euro’s)


- Recipient Dutch Public Charity grant Vriendenlotery (400 kEuro's)


Publications in peer review journals
- Number of peer review papers in PubMed since 1980: 396
- Average citations per paper: 33


- H-index for scientific productivity (Ball Ph. Nature 2005;436:900) : 69


Research programmes

Pathophysiology and phenotyping of asthma and COPD

The research program focuses on the pathogenesis, phenotyping and early tailored interventions of inflammatory airway diseases, which includes asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The overarching aim is to introduce precision medicine to the clinic.

The research approach is an integrative one, linking the major clinical problems to individual pathophysiological determinants at the molecular, cellular and organ level. This requires connections between high-dimensional molecular profiling, modern pathology and biophysics in patients in vivo. This novel medical concept is called 'systems medicine'.

The main projects include:
- Phenotypic handprints in patients with severe, treatment-resistant asthma: a systems biology and systems medicine approach (EU IMI)
- Breatheomics: pattern recognition of exhaled molecular biomarkers in the diagnosis, monitoring and management of respiratory disease
- Prognostic value of electronic nose assessment in pulmonary infections, acute lung injury and lung cancer
- The role of airway smooth muscle and its environment in the dynamics of airway narrowing.
- Induced exacerbations of asthma and COPD by experimental rhinovirus infection or allergens
- Segmental challenge with particulate matter in humans in vivo
- Gene expression profiling in upper and lower airways in patients with asthma and/or rhinitis
- The early determinants of long-term asthma outcome: airway inflammation, airway remodelling, and persistent virus infections
- Confirmed wheezing and molecular fingerprinting during infancy in the prediction of childhood asthma
- Prediction and prospective assessment of asthma exacerbations in the primary care setting
- Prospective assessment and therapy of COPD exacerbations

Theme: Infection and Immunit

This research group participates in CINIMA and CIA

Prof. dr. P.J. Sterk

N. Fens MD PhD

PhD Students
M. Berger MD
P. Brinkman MEng
H. Coumou MD
C. Folisi
M.G. Gerritsen MD
L.E.S. de Groot
L. Guo
A. Ravi MSc
Drs. G.N. Rootmensen
Y.S. Sabogal Pineros MSc
T. Smulders BSc
P. van Velzen MD (Infectious Diseases (with prof JM Prins))
R. de Vries
Drs. K. de Heer MD
Drs. I. den Otter (Leiden University Medical Centre)
Drs. A.J. Ravensberg (Leiden University Medical Centre)

P. Mau Asam

Other research related activities
  • Membership of editorial board / Editorship, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE
  • Membership of editorial board / Editorship, RESPIRATORY RESEARCH
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, ZonMw (Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development), Patient Participation
  • Membership of medical or scientific committee, Other, Chair of the board
  • Contribution to guidelines and protocols, ERS Guidelines on Exhaled Breath Assessments