Prof. Jos Maessen joined a young Maastricht University community in 1978 and stayed there after graduation in Medicine, obtaining his PhD, and being trained as a cardiothoracic surgeon, to become professor and chief of the Department of Cardiothoracic surgery as well as Principal Investigator in CARIM in 2005. From a rather non-academic clinical department, his group turned into an important clinical partner for basic scientists within CARIM initiating and supporting many translational research projects. Apart from delivering the best possible care his team is convinced that this approach is the best and shortest way to innovate the cardiac surgical profession. Crossing borders leads to new opportunities. Surgeons and electrophysiologists developed hybrid treatment modalities for AF treatment with better results and new research opportunities. Similarly, in reconstructive surgery of the aorta and mitral valve, combining treatment with virtual reality, modeling and experimental imaging, outcome improved and the results raised new hypotheses for basis research.