13 June 2018

NWO VIDI Judith Sluimer

Dr Judith Sluimer received one of the 15 VIDI grants from NWO-ZonMW for her project "Barcoding the fibroblast: single cell sequencing to reveal heterogeneity and functional impact of atherosclerotic plaque fibroblasts". This personal career grant with a success rate of ~17% amounts to 800,000€ for her research over the next 5 years to investigate the rupture of atherosclerotic plaques, which is the cause of  myocardial infarct and / or stroke. We already know that this is partly due to a disturbed connective tissue production and degradation. She will now investigate the underlying cause of this, using a new technology to study the expression profiles of individual cells. Until recently, we looked at expression in whole pieces of tissue, containing all kinds of different cells and subtypes, and it was impossible to determine the contribution of one cell type. This new technology can do this at a single cell level, and offers the possibility to recognize new subtypes. The aim of the project is to detect new subtypes of matrix-producing fibroblast-like cells in the vessel wall and to investigate whether they can repair the disturbed matrix production and breakdown in plaques in order to prevent  myocardial infarct and / or stroke in the future.