University of Maastricht (UM)

University of Maastricht

The University of Maastricht was established in 1976 and is the youngest of the 13 public universities in the Netherlands. UM is the second best performing young university in Europe, ranking 6th in the latest Times Higher Education World University Ranking 100 under 50 years old. UM also holds a position in the Top 50 Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health Universities, ranked 45th (ranking 2nd in The Netherlands). Almost half of the student population and a third of academic staff at UM is non-Dutch. This makes UM by far the most international university in the Netherlands, and indeed among the most international universities on the European continent.


The Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) of the UM work closely together with the University Hospital Maastricht. Together they form the Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC). One of the main research areas of the FHML is cardiovascular disease. All cardiovascular research is embedded in the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM). This is one of the largest cardiovascular research centers of Europe.


Roles and tasks of UM in SVDs@target

The project team at UM / CARIM has ample experience in the design, coordination, analysis and reporting of clinical studies related to sporadic SVDs. It hosts expertise on inflammatory mechanisms, hypertension and imaging in (pre-) clinical studies. UM will co-lead WP4 (Inflammatory mechanisms: immune cell binding and transmigration in SVDs) and contribute to  WP 2 (Blood brain barrier integrity and perivascular flow) and WP5 (interventions).



Key staff

Robert J. Oostenbrugge

Prof. Robert J. Oostenbrugge

Professor of Neurology, with a chair on Vascular Neurology, head of the Department of Neurology (UM)


Principal Investigator of CARIM and programme leader of Vascular Neurology within CARIM
Member of the Centers of Excellence in Neurodegeneration initiative, and member of the Dutch Section of Vascular Neurology;


Major field of research: stroke and SVDs; specific expertise in vascular inflammation/endothelial activation, imaging, cohort studies an acute stroke trials. the group oversees large cohorts with lacunar stroke and hypertension related SVDs with long term follow up (>200 patients).


SVD@target team at UM

Prof. Erik Biessen

Prof. Dr. Erik Biessen

Head of Experimental Vascular Pathology, coordinator pheno- and genotyping of immune cells


Principal Investigator at CARIM


Major field of research: cardiovascular immunology.


Dr Biessen is a leading expert in (cardio)vascular immune cell status, leucocyte dynamics and the dissection of underlying inflammation regulatory pathways in cardiovascular diseases.


Prof. Walter Backes


Prof. Walter Backes

Medical Physicist, coordinator MR studies


Major field of research: MRI of neurological and vascular pathology. Expertise in perfusion and diffusion imaging, and functional MRI of brain networks.


Julie Staals


Dr. Julie Staals

Neurologist, coordinator clinical studies


Group leader clinical


Field of research: clinical studies in sporadic SVDs. Expertise in structural MRI, hypertension and prospective observational clinical studies in sporadic SVDs. Dr. Staals developed the total burden of SVD MR score.


Sébastien Foulquier, Pharm.D., Ph.D
Senior Post-doctoral researcher

CARIM - Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht & MH&NS – Mental Health and Neuroscience School Vascular pharmacologist with an expertise on hypertension, the cerebral circulation, blood brain barrier dysfunction, microglia biology and cognitive behavior.
Linkedin profile:

Danielle Kerkhofs
PhD student

Danielle Kerkhofs is a PhD student at the department of Neurology of Maastricht University Medical Center, the Netherlands. After the biomedical sciences bachelor, she graduated as a medical doctor  by completing the ‘arts-onderzoeker’ master at Maastricht University. She worked one year as a resident Neurology in the Catherina hospital in Eindhoven before starting her PhD within the SVDs@target project. She is mainly working on work package 4; investigating the role of inflammation and immune cells in the pathogenesis of cerebral Small Vessel Disease.

Tweets by SVDS@target

Publications with PubMed ID

Authors: Giannetto M, Xia M, Stæger FF, Metcalfe T, Vinitsky HS, Dang JAML, Xavier ALR, Kress BT, Nedergaard M, Hablitz LM

Scientific reports. 2020 Sep 30;10(1):16073

PMID: 32999319    Open Access: PMC7528110

Authors: Cleary CM, Moreira TS, Takakura AC, Nelson MT, Longden TA, Mulkey DK

eLife. 2020 Sep 14;9

PMID: 32924935    Open Access: PMC7521922

Authors: Stringer MS, Lee H, Huuskonen MT, MacIntosh BJ, Brown R, Montagne A, Atwi S, Ramirez J, Jansen MA, Marshall I, Black SE, Zlokovic BV, Benveniste H, Wardlaw JM

Translational stroke research. 2020 Sep 16;

PMID: 32936435

Authors: Elschot EP, Backes WH, Postma AA, van Oostenbrugge RJ, Staals J, Rouhl RPW, Jansen JFA

Investigative radiology. 2020 Sep 15;

PMID: 32932377

Authors: Hablitz LM, Plá V, Giannetto M, Vinitsky HS, Stæger FF, Metcalfe T, Nguyen R, Benrais A, Nedergaard M

Nature communications. 2020 Sep 2;11(1):4411

PMID: 32879313    Open Access: PMC7468152

Authors: Kerkhofs D, van Hagen BT, Milanova IV, Schell KJ, van Essen H, Wijnands E, Goossens P, Blankesteijn WM, Unger T, Prickaerts J, Biessen EA, van Oostenbrugge RJ, Foulquier S

Theranostics. 2020;10(21):9512-9527

PMID: 32863942    Open Access: PMC7449902

Authors: Lee YK, Rothwell PM, Payne SJ, Webb AJS

Physiological measurement. 2020 Oct 6;41(9):095002

PMID: 32764198

Authors: Gill D, Georgakis MK, Zuber V, Karhunen V, Burgess S, Malik R, Dichgans M

Journal of the American Heart Association. 2020 Jul 21;9(14):e016773

PMID: 32627641

Authors: Georgakis MK, Gill D, Malik R, Protogerou AD, Webb AJS, Dichgans M

Hypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979). 2020 Sep;76(3):953-961

PMID: 32623925    Open Access: PMC7418931

Authors: Asare Y, Campbell-James TA, Bokov Y, Yu LL, Prestel M, El Bounkari O, Roth S, Megens RTA, Straub T, Thomas K, Yan G, Schneider M, Ziesch N, Tiedt S, Silvestre-Roig C, Braster Q, Huang Y, Schneider M, Malik R, Haffner C, Liesz A, Soehnlein O, Bernhagen J, Dichgans M

Circulation research. 2020 Aug 28;127(6):811-823

PMID: 32546048

Authors: Georgakis MK, Gill D, Webb AJS, Evangelou E, Elliott P, Sudlow CLM, Dehghan A, Malik R, Tzoulaki I, Dichgans M

Neurology. 2020 Jul 28;95(4):e353-e361

PMID: 32611631    Open Access: PMC7455321

Authors: Mestre H, Mori Y, Nedergaard M

Trends in neurosciences. 2020 Jul;43(7):458-466

PMID: 32423764    Open Access: PMC7331945

Authors: Biessels GJ, Nobili F, Teunissen CE, Simó R, Scheltens P

The Lancet. Neurology. 2020 Aug;19(8):699-710

PMID: 32445622

Authors: Blair GW, Thrippleton MJ, Shi Y, Hamilton I, Stringer M, Chappell F, Dickie DA, Andrews P, Marshall I, Doubal FN, Wardlaw JM

Neurology. 2020 May 26;94(21):e2258-e2269

PMID: 32366534    Open Access: PMC7357294

Authors: Ratelade J, Klug NR, Lombardi D, Angelim MKSC, Dabertrand F, Domenga-Denier V, Al-Shahi Salman R, Smith C, Gerbeau JF, Nelson MT, Joutel A

Circulation. 2020 Jun 23;141(25):2078-2094

PMID: 32183562    Open Access: PMC7311305

Authors: Li Q, Aalling NN, Förstera B, Ertürk A, Nedergaard M, Møllgård K, Xavier ALR

Fluids and barriers of the CNS. 2020 Feb 11;17(1):15

PMID: 32046744    Open Access: PMC7014736

Authors: Georgakis MK, Malik R, Anderson CD, Parhofer KG, Hopewell JC, Dichgans M

Brain : a journal of neurology. 2020 Feb 1;143(2):597-610

PMID: 31968102    Open Access: PMC7009571

Authors: Sloots JJ, Biessels GJ, Zwanenburg JJM

NeuroImage. 2020 Apr 15;210:116581

PMID: 31982580

Authors: Mestre H, Du T, Sweeney AM, Liu G, Samson AJ, Peng W, Mortensen KN, Stæger FF, Bork PAR, Bashford L, Toro ER, Tithof J, Kelley DH, Thomas JH, Hjorth PG, Martens EA, Mehta RI, Solis O, Blinder P, Kleinfeld D, Hirase H, Mori Y, Nedergaard M

Science (New York, N.Y.). 2020 Mar 13;367(6483)

PMID: 32001524    Open Access: PMC7375109

Authors: Abraham G, Malik R, Yonova-Doing E, Salim A, Wang T, Danesh J, Butterworth AS, Howson JMM, Inouye M, Dichgans M

Nature communications. 2019 Dec 20;10(1):5819

PMID: 31862893    Open Access: PMC6925280