CoSTREAM partners from the Netherlands

CoSTREAM features three partners from the Netherlands, including the project's coordinator, Erasmus MC.

Erasmus University Medical Center

Erasmus MC

The Erasmus University Medical Center (EMC) is the academic hospital of the city of Rotterdam, and home to the Erasmus University faculty of medicine. As the largest university medical center in the Netherlands, it plays a key role in research, education and patient care in the country. Erasmus' research combines its internationally acknowledged expertise in the fields of clinical, health and biomedical sciences

EMC ranks number 1 among the top European institutions in clinical medicine and number 20 in the world according to the Times Higher Education rankings.

Its aim is to translate bench discoveries to bedside applications and daily community care. Research at the medical faculty is centred on the fields of genetics, health sciences including epidemiology, biostatistics and public health, cardiovascular disease, neuroscience, endocrinology, oncology, immunology and hematology.

CoSTREAM's research will be conducted by the department of epidemiology. Its research focuses on cardiovascular disease epidemiology, epidemiology of neurological and psychiatric diseases and ophthalmologic diseases. In addition, research groups focus on genetic epidemiology, endocrinological epidemiology, pharmaco-epidemiology and on clinical epidemiology of radiological procedures. The department of epidemiology is home to two large prospective cohort studies, the Rotterdam Study including almost 15,000 participants over 45 years of age and Generation R, including almost 10,000 children and their parents.

The Rotterdam Study is an ongoing population-based, prospective cohort study, which started in 1990 in Rotterdam the Netherlands. Every 3 - 4 years the participants are invited for re-examination. Information routinely collected includes anthropometry, cardiovascular risk factors, and medication use. Extensive functional and imaging tests are performed as well, including cognitive testing, echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Over 9,000 cognitive tests and more than 7,000 MRI scans are available, with several persons having multiple cognitive assessments and MRI-scans (around 3,400). Participants are followed-up up for a large range of diseases by linkage to the general practitioners’ and pharmancy databases.

The Rotterdam Study also has an extensive biobank. Genome-wide association data are available for the vast majority of participants (around 12,000) . The Rotterdam Study plays a large role in many global consortia for genetic studies, including CHARGE and ENGAGE.

Role in CoSTREAM

EMC is the project coordinator of CoSTREAM and participates in all work packages, and leads work package 7 on project management, dissemination and exploitation. EMC will provide overall scientific leadership to the project and contributes to the epidemiologic, metabolomic and imaging aspects of the project.

Key staff

Prof. Cornelia van Duijn is a professor of genetic epidemiology at the department of epidemiology at EMC. She serves as the project's scientific coordinator, and leads CoSTREAM on all scientific matters. She is also involved as a principle investigator in three large-scale population- and family-based studies: the Erasmus Rucphen Family (ERF) study, the Rotterdam study and Generation R. Her work focuses on –omics research in neurodegenerative disorders. She has identified genes involved in various neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson’s disease, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and open angle glaucoma. She is a leader in several international genome wide association consortia including CHARGE, ENGAGE, EAGLE and PERADES. She served on various scientific committees, including the International Society for Genetic Epidemiology (IGES), the American and European Society for Human Genetics (ASHG, ESHG). She founded EMC's MSc and PhD program in genetic epidemiology of which she is the scientific director.

Dr. M. Arfan Ikram, is head of neuroepidemiology in the Rotterdam Study. He has a longstanding interest in epidemiology of brain ageing and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Throughout his career he has used many state-of-the-art technologies implemented in population-based cohort studies. He has used a wide variety of imaging techniques, including structural MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, phase-contrast angiography and CT-scanning, as well as post-processing algorithms, including (semi-)automatic segmentation, linear and non-linear registration, voxel-based analysis, and tractography, to study various aspects of neurodegenerative disease. Additionally, he has broad expertise in conventional and emerging genomics technologies, including whole-genome genotyping arrays, exome arrays, and exome sequencing. In recent years, he has published several studies that combine imaging and genetics in the study of neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Ikram has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and has a H-index of 34. He co-leads several national and international consortia, including neuro-CHARGE, UNIVERSE, JPND HD-READY, Dutch ImaGene.

Prof. Henning Tiemeier is a professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the departments of child and adolescent psychiatry, and epidemiology. His main areas of interest are the aetiology of common psychiatric disorders with a particular focus lifestyle, neurodevelopment and genetics. Other interests are methodological issues in psychiatric epidemiology, and sleep research. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed publications. His H-index is 35. He is a regular keynote speaker at academic conferences both nationally and internationally. He is the principle investigator of psychiatric research in the Rotterdam Study and the child psychiatric and cognitive research line in the Generation R Cohort. Since 2013 he is adjunct faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, as a professor of epidemiology teaching child psychiatric epidemiology. He (co-)leads several national and international consortia, including CHARGE-depression, CORNET, EAGLE-behaviour group and participates in the PGC consortium.



MIMETAS is a Leiden, Netherlands-based microfluidics company founded in 2013. MIMETAS develops organ-on-a-chip technology for testing new drugs and therapeutics. Its unique microfluidic technology enables testing of new medicines in high-throughput on miniaturized organ models. These models have better predictability compared to laboratory animals and conventional cell culture models.

MIMETAS is based on a unique prototyping and production platform, which results in a world-leading position in passive microfluidics and a unique value proposition based on organ-on-a-chip technology. Currently, MIMETAS offers 3D culture microfluidic plates, while validating a range of organ models to be launched soon. Ultimately, the MIMETAS platform will be made available for patients to select optimal, individualized therapies.

MIMETAS has strong expertise on microfluidics and application/model development. This combination enables the development of physiologically relevant models by combining 3D culture techniques with perfusion flow, signalling gradients and co-culture techniques.

Role in CoSTREAM

MIMETAS' OrganoPlateTM platform will be used within CoSTREAM’s Work Package 6 to further identify and characterise pathways underlying stroke and Alzheimer's disease, and to develop targeted therapeutic strategies based on these underlying mechanisms and pathways.

MIMETAS will develop a 3D microfluidic cell culture model of the neurovascular unit (organ-on-a-chip) made up of endothelial cells, neurons, astrocytes and oligogendrocytes. The development of this organ-on-a-chip model will be crucial to develop targeted therapeutic strategies based on the molecular pathways identified in CoSTREAM.MIMETAS will apply miniaturised metabolomics for studying the exact role of these molecules and pathways in stroke and Alzheimer's disease.

Key staff

Remko van Vught, PhD is a business development scientist at MIMETAS. He is a biochemist by training and obtained his Master’s degree in Molecular Life Sciences cum laude at the Radboud University Nijmegen. During his studies he worked on the structure-function relation of MRP4/ABCC4 at Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (Nijmegen, the Netherlands). At Pepscan Therapeutics (Lelystad, the Netherlands) he studied the targeting of LRP5 to increase bone formation in osteoporosis (TALOS, FP7). He received his PhD from the Utrecht University (Netherlands) where he worked on the development of functionalized nanobodies for cancer therapy. After his PhD research he started as Business Development Scientist at MIMETAS where he is currently involved in all business development and marketing activities. He also serves as the project manager of several projects including the Crack-it Neuratect challenge.

Paul Vulto, PhD is a scientist and entrepreneur, who held positions in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Japan. He worked as an engineer for the high-tech company Silicon Biosystems in Bologna and headed the Diagnostic Microsystems group at IMTEK, the University of Freiburg. Paul Vulto holds a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering and a PhD degree in Microsystems Engineering.  Paul Vulto is cofounder of MIMETAS and Managing Director, and has received several prices (Young Technology Award International at COMS 2013,  Dragons Den Award at ELRIG Drug Discovery ’13). He has supervised 3 PhD students that successfully completed their training. He is currently supervising 3 PhD students and 3 Postdocs. He has also supervised 13 master students. He is author of 23 journal publications; 11 international patent applications. Paul Vulto was previouly group leader at Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research research institute.

Karlijn Wilschut, PhD is senior scientist for development and application at MIMETAS. She received her PhD in Stem Cell Biology at the Utrecht University in 2009. As a postdoctoral research, she worked from 2010-2014 at the University of California-San Francisco on cell therapy for muscular diseases.

Henriette Lanz, PhD is senior scientist for development and application at MIMETAS. Henriette Lanz has received her PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Leiden in 2012. She is author of 4 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Lanz has supervised 4 master students and 7 bachelor students. She has supervised the practical training courses biochemistry level 2, molecular genetics and molecular cell biology.

Leiden University

Leiden University

The division of analytical biosciences is part of the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research at the Faculty of Science of Leiden University. LACDR is a leading institute dedicated to world-class research and education in drug discovery and development. Leiden University is the initiator and leader of the Netherlands Metabolomics Centre (NMC), a multidisciplinary public-private partnership between key academic players, clinical centers, research institutes and industrial partners. It has established a world class metabolomics knowledge infrastructure, in which new methods for metabolomics-driven systems biology and systems pharmacology are developed, and where a wide range of mass spectrometers (Ion-trap and ion-trap hybrids with FT-ICR and FT-Orbitrap, Q-ToF, Q-ion mobility-ToF, Triple quadrupole) are available. The developed metabolomics methods are extensively validated and applied to clinical and biomedical research questions in the Biomedical Metabolomics Facility of the Division.

Leiden University has extensive experience in biomarker discovery with metabolomics in clinical and preclinical studies. Ten metabolomics platforms are available to analyse more than 2,000 metabolites and lipids, with half of them reported with identities, and 500 with absolute concentrations. Most metabolomics platforms have been optimized for metabolic, vascular and neurological diseases. The platforms targeting neurotransmitters, oxylipins, oxidative/nitrosative stress and the global platforms for lipids and central carbon/energy metabolism cover for CoSTREAM relevant processes. The Metabolomics Facility analyses more than 15,000 clinical and preclinical samples per year according to a quality system.

The group has discovered a wide range of metabolomic biomarkers profiles for vascular, metabolic and neurological diseases. The group is also miniaturizing metabolomics analysis to allow the study of human in-vitro models based on primary cells or induced pluripotent stem cells. The group has recently developed a microfluidic organ-on-a-chip platform, which has been spun out as MIMETAS.

Role in project

Leiden University will contribute mainly to work package 2 with its experience in metabolomics and translational research in neurological, metabolic and vascular diseases and medicines. Leiden is experienced in a systems pharmacology approach to use insights in disease networks to develop treatment options.

Leiden University will also analyze clinical samples and samples from the organ-on-a-chip systems to obtain metabolic pathways involved in stroke and Alzheimer's disease and identify which pathways can be modulated with treatments.

Key staff

Prof. Thomas Hankemeier is the head of the Division of Analytical Biosciences. He has a PhD in analytical chemistry. Since 1999 he is developing methods for metabolomics. Since 2004, he has been professor of Analytical Biosciences at Leiden University. He is the PI of various metabolomics development projects and biomarker discovery projects and the initiator and scientific director of the Netherlands Metabolomics Centre, for which he and his collaborators at other Dutch research groups received a grant of 25 M€ (2008-2013). He is co-founder of MIMETAS, an organ-on-a-chip company, developing a phenotyping screening platform suitable for high throughput. Major interests are diagnosis and treatment of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, novel analytical technolog, metabolomics and translation of metabolomics from clinic to pharmacological treatment.

Amy Harms, PhD is the lab manager of the Metabolomics Facility. She has a PhD in chemistry and more than 25 years of experience in the field of mass spectrometry, 15 years in proteomics, and 10 years in the field of metabolomics. She has been directing core facilities since 1998 and has managed the biomedical metabolomics facility in Leiden since 2010. Major interests include instrumentation, data processing strategies, and quality control