Sander W. van der Laan

: Apr 28, 2021

Looking for Partnership Looking for Consultant Looking for Extra EU Funds
About Me

I am an assistant professor in the Central Diagnostics Laboratory which is part of the Circulatory Health Program at the University Medical Center Utrecht and University of Utrecht and work with professor dr. Folkert W. Asselbergs and professor dr. Gerard Pasterkamp. My research interest is focused on the genetic and epigenetic causes of carotid and coronary atherosclerosis underlying ischemic stroke (IS) and coronary artery disease (CAD), and their intermediate traits such as carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) and arterial calcification. Large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified hundreds of genetic loci robustly associated to these diseases and traits. With my work I ultimately aim to move from GWAS loci to novel therapeutic targets and (surrogate) biomarkers for cardiovascular diseases through extensive in silico, and in vitro modelling.

As a means to this end, I am currently working on integrating Bayesian fine-mapping methodology, co-localisation, causal inference through Mendelian Randomisation, expression and methylation quantitative trait loci analyses, GWAS, single-cell RNA sequencing, and plaque characterisation based on high-throughput imaging of histological slides and machine learning algorithms. This has resulted in the identification of 28 loci with a substrate in plaques that harbour genes potentially causal to atherosclerosis and amenable to therapy. We are currently pursuing several targets in vitro.

My vision is that this holistic approach will identify the truly viable targets to feed the drug developmental pipeline to combat the cardiovascular disease epidemic. This approach is human centered and does not involved new in vivo experiments.

I actively contribute to the International Stroke Genetics Consortium. In addition, I make contributions to international consortia, including GENIUS-CHD, GIANT, GLGC, GoDMC, and various other international consortia.

I am a Review Editor for Frontiers in Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Prevention and Frontiers in Human Genomics.

This work is covered through various (inter)national collaborative grant programs: CVON-GENIUS2 funded by the Dutch Heart Foundation (DHF, grant-number: CVON 2017-20), ERA-CVD ‘druggable-MI-targets’ in part funded by the DHF (grant-number: JTC2017-40-2017T096), H2020 ‘TO AITION’, SIG CONVOCALS 2019, SIG DEEP-ENIGMA 2020, and Leducq Fondation PlaqOmics.

Keywords and matching areas:

 Biological Sciences
 Innovation & Research
 Medical Biotechnology

Ideas in Progress

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