Utrecht University (UU) and University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU)

University Medical Center Utrecht
With almost 30,000 students, over 6,000 staff, and an annual budget of 765 million euros (2014), Utrecht University is one of the largest general research universities in Europe. It ranks first in the Netherlands and 16th in Europe on the 2014 Shanghai Ranking. In 2013, it generated 234 million Euro in external research funding.

 

The University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU) is one of the largest public health care institutions in the Netherlands, with over 11,000 employees, including almost 1000 PhD students. The department of Neurology & Neurosurgery at UMCU treats over 600 patients with acute stroke each year and has a dedicated vascular cognitive impairment clinic. The Center for Image Sciences (CIS) is performing world leading imaging research and image based therapy research at the UMCU. The Center for Image Sciences (CIS) at the UMCU employs and trains 120 PhD students in grant funded research projects. The MRI physics group is one of the largest in Europe with major developments in the field of 7T MRI of the brain.

 

 

Key staff

Geert Jan Biessels

Prof. Geert Jan Biessels is professor of neurology at the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus of the University Medical Centre Utrecht,  the Netherlands. His major research interest is vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), with a particular focus on novel imaging markers and the role of diabetes. Using the unique properties of high field 7T-MRI his group managed to detect cerebral microinfarcts in vivo.

The technique has now been translated to 3T-MRI. A next goal is to non-invasively image structure and function of the small vessels themselves, thus getting closer to the core disease processes. With regard to diabetes, his group has characterized trajectories and stages of cognitive dysfunction and established underlying structural brain changes with MRI. He is PI of two large multicentre RCTs on prevention of cognitive decline in patients with in type 2 diabetes.

In 2015 he received the senior investigator award of the European Stroke Organisation (ESO). He authored over 200 research papers.

 

SVD@target team at UMCU

Jereon Hendrikse

Prof. Jeroen Hendrikse (1976) is professor of neuroradiology at the radiology department (Imaging Division) of the University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands. His major research interest is novel imaging markers to quantify cerebrovascular diseases. His three major research lines can be distinguished as the ‘3Ps’: the investigation of the brain Pipes (vasculature), Perfusion and Parenchyma. With 3T-MRI and 7T-MRI his group visualized and quantified cerebral perfusion and cerebrovascular reserve with arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI and the burden of intracranial atherosclerosis and plaques with intracranial vessel wall MRI. The innovative and non-invasive methods developed within this research lines are translated to daily clinical practice including other patient groups such as patients with brain tumors. He is the first radiologists awarded with an ERC starting grant (HEARTOFSTROKE) with the goal to unravel the causes of cerebral infarcts in individual patients by investigating in detail ‘Pipes, Perfusion and Parenchyma’. Furthermore, he was awarded with major Dutch national research grants (VENI, VIDI, STW, Dutch Heart Association). He is chair of the Dutch radiologists continuing medical education (CME) program. He authored 140 research papers and wrote an educational book for the general public (‘This is our brain’).

 

Jaco Zwanenburg

Dr. Jaco Zwanenburg is associate professor of advanced MRI at the department of Radiology (Imaging Division) of the University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands. His research focus is on designing and implementing new MRI techniques at ultra-high field strength (7T), to stimulate further understanding of cerebrovascular diseases. Exploiting the rich sources of endogenous MRI contrast, he developed imaging techniques for angiography, venography, brain anatomy, and microscopic brain lesions resulting from small vessel disease, including microbleeds and microinfarcts. Furthermore, he developed imaging strategies for imaging post mortem specimens at high resolution, to bridge the gap between histology and in-vivo imaging in patients. He was awarded an ERC starting grant (SmallVesselMRI) for developing new techniques for imaging the microvascular function, including the pulsatile motion induced by the small vessels, which drive the waste transport in the brain.

 

Dr. ir. Jeroen Siero is assistant professor of advanced MRI at the department of Radiology (Imaging Division) of the University Medical Center of Utrecht and at the Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His main research focus is on hemodynamic MRI techniques from hardware development to image analysis of high fidelity hemodynamic MRI data. A particular interest is neurovascular coupling in healthy and diseased brain and the separation of vascular and neuronal sources to BOLD fMRI signals using respiratory challenges. A physiological parameter with great potential for investigating the health of the brain’s vasculature is cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR). CVR is the vasodilatory response of cerebral vessels under hemodynamic stress conditions. Examining fine-scale CVR is of particular importance as it is hypothesized that disturbed capillary blood flow patterns play a crucial role in the events preceding tissue ischemia, small vessel disease and dementia. Using state-of-the art methods, I intend to produce CVR maps with superior spatiotemporal detail compared to existing techniques. Ultimately, these maps would identify tissue at risk, and will guide selection of patients for tailored treatment protocols.
Tine Arts

Tine Arts is a PhD student at the department of radiology. She has a background in physics and is keen of MRI research due to its physical fundamentals and medical applications. Her research interest is in the applied MRI sciences, but she is also involved in the development of methods for MRI data analysis.

 

Laurien Onkenhout

Laurien Onkenhout is a Ph.D. student at the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus of the University Medical Centre Utrecht. She has a particular interest in vascular and cognitive neurology. She completed her medical degree at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Before commencing her last year at the University she did some traveling which included volunteer work in Nepal and two extracurricular internship/observership, one in India and one at Harvard Medical school. She is now very much looking forward to working on the SVDs@target. In the SVDs@target project she will primarily be working on the ZOOM@SVDs and TREAT-SVDs work packages.

 

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