The research within CARIM is divided into three themes. Each theme consists of more interdisciplinary research programs, led by a program leader whom within CARIM is called Principal Investigator (PI). Each PI is responsible for the scientific progress of the program, the mentoring of PhD students and post-docs and the financial basis of the program.
The 3 main research themes within CARIM are:
I. Thrombosis and haemostasis
The focus of Theme I ‘Thrombosis and haemostasis’ (Theme leader: Prof. Tilman Hackeng) is directed at deciphering impairments of proteins, platelets, and the vessel wall in relation to the development of venous and arterial thrombosis. Reflecting on the blueprint of Virchow’s triad that defines thrombosis as an imbalance between blood composition, vessel wall and components of flow, Theme 1 explores the multifactorial cause of thrombosis that has a high societal impact on the population, i.e. venous thrombosis (oral contraceptive use; pregnancy), and worldwide is the major cause of mortality, i.e. arterial thrombosis.
II. Complex Arrhythmias and structural heart disease
Research within Theme II ‘Complex Arrhythmias and structural heart disease’ (Theme leader: Prof. Harry Crijns) ranges from mechanistic studies to clinical trials and surveys of specific cardiac diseases. It focuses on heart failure, ventricular arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation. The main aims of the programs in this theme are to gain insights into the basic biology of heart failure and arrhythmias and, on the other hand, to develop early diagnostic and therapeutic strategies based on concepts developed in the laboratory and vice versa. In future care for patients with cardiac failure and arrhythmias will be significantly individualised by applying in-depth clinical, molecular and genetic phenotyping including versatile everyday biomarkers and advanced imaging supported by computer science.
III. Vascular biology and medicine
Research in Theme III ‘Vascular biology and medicine’ (Theme leader: Prof. Coen Stehouwer) is now centred around the following eight key processes underlying cardiovascular disease: 1) microvascular dysfunction; 2) atherothrombosis; 3) arterial stiffening; 4) vascular smooth muscle cell plasticity; 5) endothelial dysfunction; 6) calcification; 7) advanced glycation; and 8) inflammation. These processes are studied in the context of specific cardiovascular diseases that are major burdens to an ageing society, namely 1) diabetes and the metabolic syndrome; 2) hypertension and chronic kidney disease; 3) stroke and cognitive impairment; 4) acute coronary syndrome and heart failure; 5) aortic aneurysm; and 6) venous disease.
These three themes comprise 23 basic and clinical programs.