Erik Biessen


Prof. Erik Biessen graduated with specialisations in Physical and Bio-Chemistry at Wageningen University. After a series of post-doctoral fellowships at Leiden University, in the labs of Prof. Van Boom (Organic Chemistry; glycolipid synthesis) and Prof. Van Berkel (Biopharmaceutics; drug/gene targeting), he was in 1994, selected as one of 6 post-docs the Molecular Cardiology programme (a competitive 12 year career development track of the Netherlands Heart Foundation. In 2001, he received the NWO innovative research premium incentive (Vidi) and in 2003 the NHS Established Investigator award, to be appointed Professor of Therapeutic Gene Modulation in 2005. In 2007, he moved to Maastricht University to lead the Experimental Vascular Pathology group. Prof Biessen has a part time appointment at the Institute for Molecular Cardiovascular Research, RWTH Aachen.

Erik Biessen’s current passion is to deploy systems medicine approaches, to understand and define critical innate immune pathways in human atherosclerosis and cardiometabolic comorbidities and to validate the relevance of these processes for disease progression by intervention studies in in vitro and in vivo models. Hereto, the group has developed a new high content microscopy based functionomics platform to measure macrophage functional profile at unprecedented resolution and speed and a technology pipeline for spatial mapping of macrophage phenotype and molecular context. Keywords of his research: systems medicine, bioinformatics, multispectral analysis, macrophage biology. Dr Biessen is partner of several H2020-ITN (EvolUtion, INTRICARE, CareSyan), and two Interreg programmes and is coordinator of H2020/ERA-CVD project (AtheroMacHete).

Department of Pathology
Verheylaan 10, 6229 HX Maastricht
Room number: 5M01.032
T: +31(0)43 387 46 35

  • 2024
    • Lu, C., Donners, M. M. P. C., de Baaij, J. B. J., Jin, H., Otten, J. J. T., Manca, M., van Zonneveld, A. J., Jukema, J. W., Kraaijeveld, A., Kuiper, J., Pasterkamp, G., Mees, B., Sluimer, J. C., Cavill, R., Karel, J. M. H., Goossens, P., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2024). Identification of a gene network driving the attenuated response to lipopolysaccharide of monocytes from hypertensive coronary artery disease patients. Frontiers in Immunology, 15.
    • Christ, A., Maas, S. L., Jin, H., Lu, C., Legein, B., Wijnands, E., Temmerman, L., Otten, J., Isaacs, A., Zenke, M., Stoll, M., Biessen, E. A. L., & van der Vorst, E. P. C. (2024). In situ lipid-loading activates peripheral dendritic cell subsets characterized by cellular ROS accumulation but compromises their capacity to prime naïve T cells. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 210, 406-415.
  • 2023
    • Wieland, E. B., Kempen, L. J. A. P., Lu, C., Donners, M. M. P. C., Biessen, E. A. L., & Goossens, P. (2023). Protocol for multispectral imaging on cryosections to map myeloid cell heterogeneity in its spatial context. STAR protocols, 4(4), Article 102601.
    • Wieland, E. B., Kempen, L. J., Donners, M. M., Biessen, E. A., & Goossens, P. (2023). Macrophage heterogeneity in atherosclerosis: A matter of context. European journal of immunology, Article 2350464. Advance online publication.
    • Lu, C., Donners, M. M. P. C., Karel, J., de Boer, H., van Zonneveld, A. J., den Ruijter, H., Jukema, J. W., Kraaijeveld, A., Kuiper, J., Pasterkamp, G., Cavill, R., Perales-Patón, J., Ferrannini, E., Goossens, P., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2023). Sex-specific differences in cytokine signaling pathways in circulating monocytes of cardiovascular disease patients. Atherosclerosis, 384, Article 117123.
    • Nagenborg, J., Jin, H., Ruder, A. V., Temmerman, L., Mees, B., Schalkwijk, C., Müller-Klieser, D., Berg, T., Goossens, P., Donners, M. M. P. C., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2023). GM-CSF-activated STAT5A regulates macrophage functions and inflammation in atherosclerosis. Frontiers in Immunology, 14, Article 1165306.
    • Ruder, A., Wetzels, S. M. W., Temmerman, L., Biessen, E. A. L., & Goossens, P. (2023). Monocyte heterogeneity in cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular Research, 119(11), 2033-2045.
    • Maas, S., Jin, H., Lu, C., Nagenborg, J., Manca, M., Karel, J., Cavill, R., Sikkink, C., Yu, B., Nadeau, S., Dos Santos, J., Gijbels, M., Mees, B., Smirnov, E., Sluimer, J., Martins, G., Van der Vorst, E., & Biessen, E. (2023). Identification Of A Prdm1-Regulated T-Cell Network Which Controls T-Cell Driven Plaque Inflammation In Human And Mouse Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, 379(S1), S11-S11.
    • van Kuijk, K., McCracken, I. R., Tillie, R. J. H. A., Asselberghs, S. E. J., Kheder, D. A., Muitjens, S., Jin, H., Taylor, R. S., Schreur, R. W., Kuppe, C., Dobie, R., Ramachandran, P., Gijbels, M. J., Temmerman, L., Kirkwoord, P. M., Luyten, J., Li, Y. M., Noels, H., Goossens, P., ... Sluimer, J. C. (2023). Human and murine fibroblast single-cell transcriptomics reveals fibroblast clusters are differentially affected by ageing and serum cholesterol. Cardiovascular Research, 119(7), 1509-1523.
    • Kerkhofs, D., Helgers, R., Hermes, D., Steinbusch, H. P. J., Van Essen, H., Leenders, P., Prickaerts, J., Staals, J., Biessen, E. A., Van Oostenbrugge, R. J., & Foulquier, S. (2023). Amlodipine limits microglia activation and cognitive dysfunction in aged hypertensive mice. Journal of Hypertension, 41(7), 1159-1167.
    • Skenteris, N. T., Hemme, E., Delfos, L., Karadimou, G., Karlof, E., Lengquist, M., Kronqvist, M., Zhang, X., Maegdefessel, L., Schurgers, L. J., Arnardottir, H., Biessen, E. A. L., Bot, I., & Matic, L. (2023). Mast cells participate in smooth muscle cell reprogramming and atherosclerotic plaque calcification. Vascular Pharmacology, 150(1), Article 107167.
    • Ruder, A. V., Temmerman, L., van Dommelen, J. M. A., Nagenborg, J., Lu, C., Sluimer, J. C., Goossens, P., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2023). Culture density influences the functional phenotype of human macrophages. Frontiers in Immunology, 14(1), Article 1078591.
    • van der Vorst, E. P. C., Maas, S. L., Theodorou, K., Peters, L. J. F., Jin, H., Rademakers, T., Gijbels, M. J., Rousch, M., Jansen, Y., Weber, C., Lehrke, M., Lebherz, C., Yildiz, D., Ludwig, A., Bentzon, J. F., Biessen, E. A. L., & Donners, M. M. P. C. (2023). Endothelial ADAM10 controls cellular response to oxLDL and its deficiency exacerbates atherosclerosis with intraplaque hemorrhage and neovascularization in mice. Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, 10(1), Article 974918.
    • Fontaine, M. A. C., Jin, H., Gagliardi, M., Rousch, M., Wijnands, E., Stoll, M., Li, X., Schurgers, L., Reutelingsperger, C., Schalkwijk, C., van den Akker, N. M. S., Molin, D. G. M., Gullestad, L., Eritsland, J., Hoffman, P., Skjelland, M., Andersen, G. Ø., Aukrust, P., Karel, J., ... Biessen, E. A. L. (2023). Blood Milieu in Acute Myocardial Infarction Reprograms Human Macrophages for Trauma Repair. Advanced Science, 10(5), Article 2203053.
  • 2022
    • Maas, S. L., Jin, H., Lu, C., Nagenborg, J., Karel, J. M. H., Cavill, R., Sikkink, C. J. J. M., Nadeau, S., Gijbels, M., Mees, B. M. E., Smirnov, E., Sluimer, J. C., Martins, G. A., Van der Vorst, E. P. C., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2022). Identification of a PRDM1-regulated T cell network to regulate T cell driving plaque inflammation in human and mouse atherosclerosis. European Heart Journal, 43, 3049-3049.
    • Wollenhaupt, J., Frisch, J., Harlacher, E., Wong, D. W. L., Jin, H., Schulte, C., Vondenhoff, S., Moellmann, J., Klinkhammer, B. M., Zhang, L., Baleanu-Curaj, A., Liehn, E. A., Speer, T., Kazakov, A., Werner, C., van der Vorst, E. P. C., Selejan, S.-R., Hohl, M., Böhm, M., ... Noels, H. (2022). Pro-oxidative priming but maintained cardiac function in a broad spectrum of murine models of chronic kidney disease. Redox Biology, 56, Article 102459.
    • Waring, O. J., Skenteris, N. T., Biessen, E. A. L., & Donners, M. M. P. C. (2022). Two-faced Janus: The dual role of macrophages in atherosclerotic calcification. Cardiovascular Research, 118(13), 2768–2777.
    • Goossens, P., Lu, C., Cao, J., Gijbels, M. J., Karel, J. M. H., Wijnands, E., Claes, B. S. R., Fazzi, G. E., Hendriks, T. F. E., Wouters, K., Smirnov, E., van Zandvoort, M. J. M., Balluff, B., Cuypers, E., Donners, M. M. P. C., Heeren, R. M. A., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2022). Integrating multiplex immunofluorescent and mass spectrometry imaging to map myeloid heterogeneity in its metabolic and cellular context. Cell Metabolism, 34(8), 1214-1225.e6.
    • Jin, H., Maas, S. L., Lu, C., Nagenborg, J., Manca, M., Karel, J. M. H., Cavill, R., Waring, O., Sikkink, C. J. J. M., Mees, B. M. E., Daemen, M. J. A. P., Smirnov, E., Sluimer, J., Van der Vorst, E., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2022). Identification Of Cd8+T Cell Prdm1 In High-Risk Human Plaques And Its Regulatory Role In Murine Lesion Development. Atherosclerosis, 355, E9-E9.
    • Maas, S. L., Jin, H., Lu, C., Nagenborg, J., Manca, M., Karel, J. M. H., Cavill, R., Waring, O., Sikkink, C. J. J. M., Mees, B. M. E., Daemen, M. J. A. P., Smirnov, E., Sluimer, J., van der Vorst, E. P. C., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2022). Identification of CD8+T cell PRDM1 in high-risk human plaques and its regulatory role in murine lesion development. Cardiovascular Research, 118(SUPPL 1).
    • Christ, A., Goossens, P. G., Wijnands, E., Jin, H., Legein, B., Oth, T., Isaacs, A., Stoll, M., Vanderlocht, J., Lutgens, E., Daemen, M. J. A. P., Zenke, M., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2022). Low Density Lipoprotein Exposure of Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells Blunts Toll-like Receptor 7/9 Signaling via NUR77. Biomedicines, 10(5), Article 1152.
    • Peters, L. J. F., Baaten, C. C. F. M. J., Maas, S. L., Lu, C., Nagy, M., Jooss, N. J., Bidzhekov, K., Santovito, D., Moreno-Andrés, D., Jankowski, J., Biessen, E. A. L., Döring, Y., Heemskerk, J. W. M., Weber, C., Kuijpers, M. J. E., & van der Vorst, E. P. C. (2022). MicroRNA-26b Attenuates Platelet Adhesion and Aggregation in Mice. Biomedicines, 10(5), Article 983.
    • Madrigal-Matute, J., de Bruijn, J., van Kuijk, K., Riascos-Bernal, D. F., Diaz, A., Tasset, I., Martín-Segura, A., Gijbels, M. J. J., Sander, B., Kaushik, S., Biessen, E. A. L., Tiano, S., Bourdenx, M., Krause, G. J., McCracken, I., Baker, A. H., Jin, H., Sibinga, N. E. S., Bravo-Cordero, J. J., ... Cuervo, A. M. (2022). Protective role of chaperone-mediated autophagy against atherosclerosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(14), Article 2121133119.
    • van Kuijk, K., Demandt, J. A. F., Perales-Patón, J., Theelen, T. L., Kuppe, C., Marsch, E., de Bruijn, J., Jin, H., Gijbels, M. J., Matic, L., Mees, B. M. E., Reutelingsperger, C. P. M., Hedin, U., Biessen, E. A. L., Carmeliet, P., Baker, A. H., Kramann, R. K., Schurgers, L. J., Saez-Rodriguez, J., & Sluimer, J. C. (2022). Deficiency of myeloid PHD proteins aggravates atherogenesis via macrophage apoptosis and paracrine fibrotic signalling. Cardiovascular Research, 118(5), 1232-1246.
    • van Dierendonck, X. A. M. H., Vrieling, F., Smeehuijzen, L., Deng, L., Boogaard, J. P., Croes, C. A., Temmerman, L., Wetzels, S., Biessen, E., Kersten, S., & Stienstra, R. (2022). Triglyceride breakdown from lipid droplets regulates the inflammatory response in macrophages. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(12), Article e2114739119.
    • Van der Vorst, E. P. C., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2022). Unwrapped and uNCORked: PPAR-γ repression in atherosclerosis. European Heart Journal, 43(7), E32-E34. Article ehz770.
    • Basso, P. J., Rocha, C. R. R., Biessen, E. A. L., der Pluijm, I. V., Menck, C. F. M., & Câmara, N. O. S. (2022). Editorial: DNA repair and immune response. Frontiers in Immunology, 13, 1034689.
    • Segers, F. M. E., Ruder, A. V., Westra, M. M., Lammers, T., Dadfar, S. M., Roemhild, K., Lam, T. S., Eline Kooi, M., Cleutjens, K. B. J. M., Verheyen, F. K., Schurink, G. W. H., Haenen, G. R., van Berkel, T. J. C., Bot, I., Halvorsen, B., Sluimer, J. C., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2022). Magnetic resonance imaging contrast-enhancement with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles amplifies macrophage foam cell apoptosis in human and murine atherosclerosis. Cardiovascular Research, 118, 3346-3359.
    • Kip, A. M., Grootjans, J., Manca, M., Hadfoune, M., Boonen, B., Derikx, J. P. M., Biessen, E. A. L., Olde Damink, S. W. M., Dejong, C. H. C., Buurman, W. A., & Lenaerts, K. (2022). Temporal Transcript Profiling Identifies a Role for Unfolded Protein Stress in Human Gut Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury. Cellular and molecular gastroenterology and hepatology, 13(3), 681-694.
  • 2021
    • Jin, H., Mees, B., Biessen, E. A., & Sluimer, J. C. (2021). Transcriptional Sex Dimorphism in Human Atherosclerosis Relates to Plaque Type. Circulation Research, 129(12), 1175-1177.
    • Biessen, E. A. L., & Van Berkel, T. J. C. (2021). N-Acetyl Galactosamine Targeting: Paving the Way for Clinical Application of Nucleotide Medicines in Cardiovascular Diseases. Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, 41(12), 2855-2865.
    • Schumacher, D., Liehn, E. A., Singh, A., Curaj, A., Wijnands, E., Lira, S. A., Tacke, F., Jankowski, J., Biessen, E. A. L., & van der Vorst, E. P. C. (2021). CCR6 Deficiency Increases Infarct Size after Murine Acute Myocardial Infarction. Biomedicines, 9(11), Article 1532.
    • Wauters, L., Slaets, H., De Paepe, K., Ceulemans, M., Wetzels, S., Geboers, K., Toth, J., Thys, W., Dybajlo, R., Walgraeve, D., Biessen, E., Verbeke, K., Tack, J., Van de Wiele, T., Hellings, N., & Vanuytsel, T. (2021). Efficacy and safety of spore-forming probiotics in the treatment of functional dyspepsia: a pilot randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 6(10), 784-792.
    • Merlin, J., Ivanov, S., Dumont, A., Sergushichev, A., Gall, J., Stunault, M., Ayrault, M., Vaillant, N., Castiglione, A., Swain, A., Orange, F., Gallerand, A., Berton, T., Martin, J.-C., Carobbio, S., Masson, J., Gaisler-Salomon, I., Maechler, P., Rayport, S., ... Yvan-Charvet, L. (2021). Non-canonical glutamine transamination sustains efferocytosis by coupling redox buffering to oxidative phosphorylation. Nature Metabolism, 3(10), 1313-1326.
    • Saar-Kovrov, V., Zidek, W., Orth-Alampour, S., Fliser, D., Jankowski, V., Biessen, E. A. L., & Jankowski, J. (2021). Reduction of protein-bound uraemic toxins in plasma of chronic renal failure patients: A systematic review. Journal of Internal Medicine, 290(3), 499-526.
    • Jaminon, A. M. G., Akbulut, A. C., Rapp, N., Kramann, R., Biessen, E. A. L., Temmerman, L., Mees, B., Brandenburg, V., Dzhanaev, R., Jahnen-Dechent, W., Floege, J., Uitto, J., Reutelingsperger, C. P., & Schurgers, L. J. (2021). Development of the BioHybrid Assay: Combining Primary Human Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells and Blood to Measure Vascular Calcification Propensity. Cells, 10(8), Article 2097.
    • Tillie, R. J. H. A., Theelen, T. L., van Kuijk, K., Temmerman, L., de Bruijn, J., Gijbels, M., Betsholtz, C., Biessen, E. A. L., & Sluimer, J. C. (2021). A Switch from Cell-Associated to Soluble PDGF-B Protects against Atherosclerosis, despite Driving Extramedullary Hematopoiesis. Cells, 10(7), Article 1746.
    • Jin, H., Goossens, P., Juhasz, P., Eijgelaar, W.-J., Manca, M., Karel, J., Smirnov, E., Sikkink, C. J. J. M., Mees, B., Waring, O., van Kuijk, K., Fazzi, G., Gijbels, M., Kutmon, M., Evelo, C., Hedin, U., Daemen, M. J., Sluimer, J., Matic, L. P., & Biessen, E. (2021). Integrative multiomics analysis of human atherosclerosis reveals a serum response factor-driven network associated with intraplaque hemorrhage. Clinical and Translational Medicine, 11(6), Article e458.
    • Sluimer, J. C., & Biessen, E. A. L. (2021). Arterial lymphangiogenesis ReSPONDINg 2 a new cue: the R-spondin2/LRG4 axis limits VEGFR3-mediated lymphangiogenesis and reverse cholesterol transport. Cardiovascular Research, 117(6), 1417-1419.
    • Seime, T., Akbulut, A. C., Liljeqvist, M. L., Siika, A., Jin, H., Winski, G., van Gorp, R. H., Karlöf, E., Lengquist, M., Buckler, A. J., Kronqvist, M., Waring, O. J., Lindeman, J. H. N., Biessen, E. A. L., Maegdefessel, L., Razuvaev, A., Schurgers, L. J., Hedin, U., & Matic, L. (2021). Proteoglycan 4 Modulates Osteogenic Smooth Muscle Cell Differentiation during Vascular Remodeling and Intimal Calcification. Cells, 10(6), Article 1276.
    • Sundararaman, S. S., Peters, L. J. F., Jansen, Y., Gencer, S., Yan, Y., Nazir, S., Marquez, A. B., Kahles, F., Lehrke, M., Biessen, E. A. L., Jankowski, J., Weber, C., Doering, Y., & van der Vorst, E. P. C. (2021). Adipocyte calcium sensing receptor is not involved in visceral adipose tissue inflammation or atherosclerosis development in hyperlipidemic Apoe(-/-) mice. Scientific Reports, 11(1), Article 10409.
    • Demandt, J. A. F., van Kuijk, K., Theelen, T. L., Marsch, E., Heffron, S. P., Fisher, E. A., Carmeliet, P., Biessen, E. A. L., & Sluimer, J. C. (2021). Whole-Body Prolyl Hydroxylase Domain (PHD) 3 Deficiency Increased Plasma Lipids and Hematocrit Without Impacting Plaque Size in Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor Knockout Mice. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 9, Article 664258.
    • Quiles-Jimenez, A., Gregersen, I., Segers, F. M., Skarpengland, T., Kroustallaki, P., Yang, K., Kong, X. Y., Lauritzen, K. H., Olsen, M. B., Karlsen, T. R., Nyman, T. A., Sagen, E. L., Bjerkeli, V., Suganthan, R., Nygard, S., Scheffler, K., Prins, J., Van der Veer, E., Ogaard, J. D. S., ... Halvorsen, B. (2021). DNA glycosylase Neil3 regulates vascular smooth muscle cell biology during atherosclerosis development. Atherosclerosis, 324, 123-132.
    • Rajewsky, N., Almouzni, G., Gorski, S. A., Aerts, S., Amit, I., Bertero, M. G., Bock, C., Bredenoord, A. L., Cavalli, G., Chiocca, S., Clevers, H., De Strooper, B., Eggert, A., Ellenberg, J., Fernández, X. M., Figlerowicz, M., Gasser, S. M., Hubner, N., Kjems, J., ... LifeTime Community Working Groups (2021). Publisher Correction: LifeTime and improving European healthcare through cell-based interceptive medicine. Nature, 592(7852), E8-E8.
    • Demandt, J. A. F., Dubois, L. J., van Kuijk, K., Zat'ovicova, M., Jin, H., Parkkila, S., van der Laan, S. W., Jelenska, L., Mees, B. M. E., Reutelingsperger, C. P. M., Cleutjens, K. B. J. M., van der Kallen, C. J. H., Schalkwijk, C. G., van Greevenbroek, M. M. J., Biessen, E. A. L., Pasterkamp, G., Pastorekova, S., Stehouwer, C. D. A., & Sluimer, J. C. (2021). The hypoxia-sensor carbonic anhydrase IX affects macrophage metabolism, but is not a suitable biomarker for human cardiovascular disease. Scientific Reports, 11(1), Article 425.
  • 2020
    • van Geffen, J. P., Swieringa, F., van Kuijk, K., Tullemans, B. M. E., Solari, F. A., Peng, B., Clemetson, K. J., Farndale, R. W., Dubois, L. J., Sickmann, A., Zahedi, R. P., Ahrends, R., Biessen, E. A. L., Sluimer, J. C., Heemskerk, J. W. M., & Kuijpers, M. J. E. (2020). Mild hyperlipidemia in mice aggravates platelet responsiveness in thrombus formation and exploration of platelet proteome and lipidome. Scientific Reports, 10(1), Article 21407.
    • Chteinberg, E., Wetzels, S., Gerritsen, W., Temmerman, L., van den Oord, J., Biessen, E., Kurz, A. K., Winnepenninckx, V., Zenke, M., Speel, E.-J., & Hausen, A. Z. (2020). Navitoclax combined with Alpelisib effectively inhibits Merkel cell carcinoma cell growth in vitro. Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology, 12, Article 1758835920975621.
    • Furmanik, M., Chatrou, M., van Gorp, R., Akbulut, A., Willems, B., Schmidt, H., van Eys, G., Bochaton-Piallat, M.-L., Proudfoot, D., Biessen, E., Hedin, U., Perisic, L., Mees, B., Shanahan, C., Reutelingsperger, C., & Schurgers, L. (2020). Reactive Oxygen-Forming Nox5 Links Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotypic Switching and Extracellular Vesicle-Mediated Vascular Calcification. Circulation Research, 127(7), 911-927.
    • Cao, J., Goossens, P., Martin-Lorenzo, M., Dewez, F., Claes, B. S. R., Biessen, E. A. L., Heeren, R. M. A., & Balluff, B. (2020). Atheroma-Specific Lipids in ldlr(-/-) and apoe(-/-) Mice Using 2D and 3D Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Mass Spectrometry Imaging. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 31(9), 1825-1832.
    • Peters, L. J. F., Floege, J., Biessen, E. A. L., Jankowski, J., & van der Vorst, E. P. C. (2020). MicroRNAs in Chronic Kidney Disease: Four Candidates for Clinical Application. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(18), Article 6547.